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Illegal immigration fastest growing federal crime

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Illegal immigration fastest growing federal crime

Government says most cases came from U.S.-Mexico border

Illegal immigration leaped to the fastest growing federal offense between 2005 and 2009, The Bureau of Justice Statistics announced Wednesday.

In each of those years the rate of arrests along the Mexico-U.S. border increased by an average 23 percent, with 84,749 people arrested for immigration crimes, up from 38,041 in 2005, the BJS said.

In all, there were 183,986 people arrested for federal offenses between 2005 and 2009. More than half of those arrests — 56 percent — occurred along the border of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, the BJS said.

Suspects were most likely to be detained when charged with immigration (95 percent), violent crime (87 percent), weapons (82 percent) and drug (81 percent) offenses, according to the BJS.

Of  federal cases prosecuted by U.S. attorneys in 2009, two out of three were immigration or drug offenses. Drug offenses declined, while immigration cases increased since 2005, according to the DJS.

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