82 although these offenses have been on the books

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82Although these offenses have been on the books since 1929, they are being applied under Operation Streamline more widely than they ever were before.83Yet the structure of Operation Streamline—in which up to 80 immigrants are tried at a time, and each defendant has only a few minutes to speak to an attorney—practically guarantees the violation of basic legal and human rights.84In addition, Streamline—which currently operates in all but three southwestern Border Patrol Sectors—has fueled a surge in immigration prosecutions over the past decade, severely straining the capacities of courtrooms along the border and clogging the courts with petty immigration offenses. According to Justice Department data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), immigration prosecutions “reached an all-time high” in FY 2013 with 97,384 (53,789 for “illegal entry” and 37,346 for “il-legal re-entry”). This marks an increase of 367 percent over the number of prosecutions 10 years earlier.85Between FY 2005-2012, a “total of 208,939 people were processed
17AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL| The Criminalization of Immigration in the United Statesthrough Operation Streamline,” which represents 45 percent of the 463,051 immigration-related prosecutions in Southwest border districts during this time period.86U.S. Sentencing Commission data analyzed by the Pew Research Center finds that the “Dramatic growth over the past two decades in the number of offenders sentenced in federal courts has been driven primarily by enforcement of a particular immigration offense—unlawful reentry into the United States.”87Predictably, Operation Streamline has diverted resources away from drug and human smuggling prosecutions.88All this means that massive amounts of time, money, and manpower are being wasted on the prosecution of non-violent immi-grants who do not represent a threat to public safety or national security.Secure Communities Although the double standards inherent in immigration law have been applied to immi-grants for more than a decade and a half, they took on new meaning starting in 2008 with the launch and dramatic expansion of Secure Communities. This was (or still is, de-pending on one’s perspective) a DHS program, eventually activated in all 3,181 jurisdic-tions across the United States,89which used biometric data to screen for deportable immi-grants as people were being booked into jails.90Under Secure Communities, an arrestee’s fingerprints were run not only against criminal databases, but immigration databases as well. If there was an immigration “hit,” ICE could issue a “detainer” requesting that the jail hold the person in question until ICE could pick them up.Not surprisingly, given the new classes of “criminals” created by IIRIRA, most of the immi-grants scooped up by Secure Communities were non-violent and not a threat to anyone.

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