Federal apprehensions for immigration violations peaked at 1.8 million in 2000 but dropped to 516,992 in 2010—the lowest level since 1972, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. Between 2000 and 2010, arrests by the U.S. Marshals Service for federal immigration offenses tripled, from 25,205 to 82,438. Immigration apprehensions resulted in about 16 arrests per 100 apprehensions in 2010, up from 2 arrests per 100 in 2002.
Immigration apprehensions are cases in which foreign nationals are caught in the U.S. illegally; arrests refer to the booking of people by U.S. Marshals for violating federal immigration law. Apprehensions and arrests represent events, not individuals, because some individuals may be apprehended or arrested more than once. In 2010, 87 percent of apprehensions of persons in the U.S. illegally were at or near the Southwest border. About two-thirds of immigration violators arrested for a federal immigration offense in 2010 were charged with a misdemeanor for illegal entry and were sentenced to jail for up to 180 days by a U.S. magistrate judge. The remaining third were charged in U.S. district court for a felony or a more serious misdemeanor.