The new protected class.....
EL PASO, Texas -- For all the tough talk in Washington on immigration, illegal aliens caught along the Mexican border have almost no reason to fear they will be prosecuted.
Ninety-eight percent of those arrested between Oct. 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2005, were never prosecuted for illegally entering the country, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data. Those 5.2 million aliens were simply escorted back across the Rio Grande and turned loose. Many presumably tried to slip into the United States again.
The number of aliens prosecuted annually tripled during that five-year period, to 30,848 in fiscal 2005, the most recent figures available. But that still represented less than 3 percent of the 1.17 million persons arrested that year. The prosecution rate was just less than 1 percent in 2001.