Op. Streamline swells Latino representation in federal prison system

More Latinos are going to prison, and not because they are committing more crimes than they did in the past.

That’s the analysis behind an Associated Press (“More Hispanics go to federal prison,” June 4) article last month.  The reason appears to be precisely the subject of this blog: Operation Streamline is driving more Latino immigrants into the criminal justice system and ultimately into federal prisons:

“Expedited court hearings along the border are a major force driving a seismic demographic shift in who is being sent to federal prison. Statistics released this week revealed that Hispanics now comprise nearly half of all people sentenced for federal felony crimes, a number swollen by immigration offenses. In comparison, Hispanics last year made up 16 percent of the total U.S. population.

Sentences for felony immigration crimes, which include illegal crossing as well as other crimes such as alien smuggling, accounted for about 87 percent of the increase in the number of Hispanics sent to prison over the past decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Sentencing Commission data.”

… “The U.S. Sentencing Commission tracks the number of people who repeatedly enter the country illegally in a broad sentencing category called immigration crimes. The number of people sent to prison for the primary crime of unlawfully entering or remaining in the U.S. jumped from 6,513 in fiscal year 2000 to 19,910 in fiscal year 2010. Many people also were sentenced for that crime plus other, more serious offenses.”

In coming weeks, we’ll be posting more data on the expansion of the prison system due to Operation Streamline.  Stay tuned.