When measured by the number of criminal defendants charged with federal crimes by U.S. attorneys, the top five U.S. judicial districts for fiscal 2009 were all on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In fact, these five judicial districts are the only five on the U.S.-Mexico border — covering its entire expanse from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.
There are 94 federal judicial districts, covering the area of all 50 states, plus Guam, the North Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
In the Southern District of Texas, which covers a stretch of border from Brownsville past Laredo, the U.S. attorney’s office filed criminal charges against 8,801 defendants in fiscal 2009. That gave that district the nation’s No. 1 ranking for most criminal defendants charged in 2009, according to data published in Table 1 of the United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2009.
The 8,801 criminal defendants charged in the Southern District of Texas, in fact, was more than four times the 1,959 charged in the Southern District of New York (which includes Manhattan and the Bronx) and more than six times the 1,377 charged in the Eastern District of New York (which included Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island).
Following the Southern District of Texas as the No. 2 district in the nation for the most criminal defendants is the Western District of Texas, which covers the rest of the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. The U.S. attorney here filed charges against 8,435 defendants in 2009.
Rounding out the top five are the districts for Southern California (5,554 defendants charged), Arizona (5,155) and New Mexico (3,769).
The 5,554 criminal defendants charged in Southern District of California — which includes San Diego and Imperial counties and covers the entire California stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border — was more than twice the 2,581 charged in the Central District of California, which includes the nearby Los Angeles metropolitan area, but does not touch the border.
Not nearly as many criminals were charged in federal judicial districts along the Canadian border. There were 191 charged in the District of Alaska, 806 in the Western District of Washington, 468 in the Eastern District of Washington, 393 in Idaho, 430 in Montana, 355 in North Dakota, 531 in Minnesota, 567 in the Western District of Michigan, 956 in the Eastern District of Michigan, 925 in the Northern District of New York, 183 in Vermont, 290 in New Hampshire and 182 in Maine.
What is going on here?
The United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2009, compiled and released by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, is just more evidence that our government is not doing its job of defending our nation’s border with Mexico. According to the Justice Department’s own numbers, federal crime is dramatically disproportionate along that border compared to the rest of the United States.
The report also reveals that of the 81,577 defendants convicted in federal court in 2009, 26,538 were convicted in cases the Justice Department categorized as immigration cases. Another 26,399 were convicted in drug cases. That means 33 percent of federal convictions were in immigration cases and 32 percent in drug cases.
“Violence along the border of the United States and Mexico has increased dramatically during recent years,” says the U.S. attorneys’ report. “The violence associated with Mexican drug trafficking organizations pose (sic) a serious problem for law enforcement. Mexican drug cartels have taken over some of the drug trade in the United States and are working with several gangs, according to a report by the National Drug Intelligence Center titled National Drug Threat Assessment 2009. According to this threat assessment, Mexican drug trafficking organizations represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States and the influence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations over domestic drug trafficking is unrivaled.”
Clearly, the surge in immigration crime and drug crime and the concentration of crime at the U.S.-Mexico border are inter-related.
“Illegal immigration provides the initial foothold with which criminal elements, including organized crime syndicates, use to engage in a myriad of illicit activities ranging from immigration document fraud and migrant smuggling to human trafficking,” said the U.S. attorneys’ report. “Federal prosecution of border crime is a critical part of our Nation’s defense, and federal jurisdiction over these offenses is exclusive. Proactive border law enforcement is an important component of our counterterrorism mission because it is known that terrorist organizations utilize cross-border criminal activity as a source of revenue and that smuggling organizations offer terrorists easy access to the United States.”
Do you think Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama have read this report? Do you think they will do anything about it?
Top Ten U.S. Judicial Districts for 2009 by Criminal Defendants
Southern Texas —- 8,801
Western Texas —- 8,435
Southern California —- 5,554
Arizona —- 5,155
New Mexico —- 3,769
Central California —- 2,581
Southern Florida —- 2,514
Southern New York —- 1,959
Middle Florida —- 1,780
Eastern Virginia —- 1,485
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