Utah among top states for immigration cases

Utah is one of the country’s top 10 federal districts for the prosecution of immigration-related offenses, according to a new report.

The study from a Syracuse University-affiliated research group shows that in the first six months of the 2013 fiscal year, there were 135 cases of defendants charged with immigration offenses.

That period stretches from October 2012 to March 2013.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse report shows Utah, which is an entire federal district, ranked 13th a year ago.

Five years ago, Utah came in the 11th spot, and 10 years ago it was ranked 14th.

Despite breaking the top 10 this year, Utah still trails states such as Texas and California, both of which had three of their four federal districts rank in the top 10.

The southern district of Texas had the highest number of prosecutions in the first six months of the 2013 fiscal year, with 17,022.

All together, the three Texas districts that made the top 10 had more than 30,000 prosecutions, while California’s three districts on the list had more than 2,300.

Arizona, which is a single district, slipped from the first place last year to third this year, with 11,476 prosecutions.

Nationwide, there have been more than 50,000 immigration-related prosecutions in the U.S. from October through March.

That’s on pace to be more than a 10 percent increase from last year, according to the TRAC report.

There were an estimated 110,000 immigrants in Utah illegally in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center’s latest estimates, down from 120,000 in 2007.

A federal judge heard final arguments on the constitutionality of Utah’s immigration enforcement law in February and is expected to issue a ruling soon.

Utah lawmakers have also pushed back the July start date for a program to allow immigrants in Utah illegally to stay and work in the state by two years. They did that to clear the way for Congress to tackle immigration with a comprehensive plan, something being debated this month.

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