According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, Hispanics accounted for almost half of all federal convictions in the U.S. in 2012—a dramatic increase from 5 percent a decade earlier. While some of the increase is due to a surge of Latin American migrants that began in the 1980s, harsher immigration policies are the main cause. Enacted in 2005, Operation Smile required all law-enforcement agents to criminally charge unlawful border-crossers—something that was left to their discretion until then. Now, as much as 80 percent of detained illegal immigrants are tried in a single hearing and then deported. Unlawful reentries, or multiple offenders, account for 26 percent of cases. It's all estimated to cost $1 billion for taxpayers.
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