For years, the majority of illegal immigrants from Mexico caught by the Border Patrol were fingerprinted, photographed,and sent back fairly quickly, while repeat border-crossers and those with criminal records were charged with federal crimes or officially deported. Since 2009, Customs and Border Protection has been gradually rolling out the Consequence Delivery System, which aims to stiffen punishment of undocumented immigrants, says the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The program includes sending people far away from where they entered the U.S. so it's tougher to reconnect with their smugglers, putting them through immigration court, sending them to prison, and working with Mexico to prosecute smugglers. The program is key to a new national strategy for dealing with illegal immigration that's expected to be released this month. Consequence Delivery, first used in Arizona, assigns illegal immigrants one of seven levels of punishment based on factors such as how many times they have been apprehended and their criminal history.