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Arizona No Longer the Top Spot for the Feds to Prosecute Immigrants

Federal prosecution of immigration crimes is down in Arizona -- down enough to dethrone the state as the top spot for such prosecutions.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse run by Syracuse University found that the judicial districts in south Texas and west Texas are now numbers one and two for most immigration prosecutions.

A vast majority of these prosecutions are for either improper entry into the country, or reentry by someone who's already been deported. For the first 11 months of this year, there were more than 50,000 of the former, and more than 34,000 of the latter.

A majority of these prosecutions take place in three districts -- the two in Texas, plus Arizona.

And although the U.S. Attorney's Office of Arizona was first in such prosecutions last year, TRAC reports a 21.6 percent decline since last year. The two districts in Texas had more, and New Mexico -- which generally lags behind the top three -- had dramatically more.

There's been a 46 percent increase in immigration prosecutions in New Mexico this year.

Still, at 6,000 prosecutions, it's still far behind Arizona, at more than 21,000 prosecutions.

Are more immigrants choosing to make the journey across the border through New Mexico, instead of Arizona?

This seems like it could be an indication of that.

Border Patrol data show the sector that covers Arizona had more apprehensions than any other last year, and the sector covering New Mexico had the second-fewest.

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The report on this year's apprehensions won't be released for a few more months.

And all the year-to-year changes seem kind of insignificant when you take a look at this chart from TRAC, showing the number of federal immigration prosecutions over the last three presidencies:

By the looks of this chart, prosecutions in Arizona are still very much "up."

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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