Wednesday, April 29, 2015

USSC Report: Illegal Reentry

The United States Sentencing Commission just issued a new report on illegal reentry offenses. Reviewing 2013, over 26% of all federal cases reported to the Commission were illegal reentry offenses. 26%. In an implicit criticism of the 16-level increase under USSG 2L1.2, the Commission compared a CHC III defendant with no qualifying predicates to a defendant with one 16-level qualifying conviction: "Thus, a CHC III defendant who receives the 16-level enhancement for a predicate conviction will face a guideline range with a minimum term of imprisonment 23 times higher than the minimum applicable to a CHC III defendant with no predicate convictions."

Other key findings:

(1) the average sentence for illegal reentry offenders was 18 months;

(2) all but two of the 18,498 illegal reentry offenders — including the 40 percent with the most serious criminal histories triggering a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b)(2) — were sentenced at or below the ten-year statutory maximum under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b)(1) for offenders with less serious criminal histories (i.e., those without “aggravated felony” convictions);

(3) the rate of within-guideline range sentences was significantly lower among offenders who received 16-level enhancements pursuant to §2L1.2(b)(1)(A) for predicate convictions (31.3%), as compared to the within-range rate for those who received no enhancements under §2L1.2(b) (92.7%);

(4) significant differences in the rates of application of the various enhancements in §2L1.2(b) appeared among the districts where most illegal reentry offenders were prosecuted;

(5) the average illegal reentry offender was deported 3.2 times before his instant illegal reentry prosecution, and over one-third (38.1%) were previously deported after a prior illegal entry or illegal reentry conviction;

(6) 61.9 percent of offenders were convicted of at least one criminal offense after illegally reentering the United States.

(7) 4.7 percent of illegal reentry offenders had no prior convictions and not more than one prior deportation before their instant illegal reentry prosecutions; and

(8) most illegal reentry offenders were apprehended by immigration officials at or near the border.

Most cases were from the five border districts. The report includes stats on fast-track reductions, as well.

-- Melody

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