Criminal prosecutions of immigrants who entered or reentered the country illegally have soared in the last decade, bringing with them huge financial and human costs, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. The U.S. government has claimed that these prosecutions are necessary to keep dangerous criminals out of the country, yet while 42 percent of those convicted in 2002 had committed crimes considered "most serious" by the United States, in 2011 that number had dropped to 27 percent. Additionally, another 27 percent had no prior felony convictions at all in 2011 vs 17 percent in 2002. In the first six months of fiscal year 2013 alone, immigration prosecutions were up by 10 percent, according to recent data from the U.S. Department Of Justice.
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