Federal Sentencing Reporter
This article is part of the Model Sentencing Guidelines Working Group's project which is designed to develop a guidelines regime that would simplify the existing federal sentencing guidelines. Among the most frequently used guidelines in today's federal sentencing system are those pertaining to immigration offenses. Some of these guidelines are difficult and cumbersome to apply as the Commission asks courts to use too many sentencing factors, often without distinguishing them in importance. The proliferation of such factors has also restricted the power of federal courts to make their own decisions as to the severity of individual offenses. For that reason, the proposed guidelines limit the number of these factors, and attempt to group them more coherently and logically. In addition, the proposed guidelines would restrain sentencing severity and attempt to create greater national uniformity with respect to immigration offenses. Because of the crushing caseload, many districts have opted for fast-track programs that have created wide disparities. The sanctions in the proposed guidelines are modeled on currently used fast-track programs as those are applicable in districts with the largest number of immigration cases. Finally, many of the proposals are based on existing empirical data.
Nora V. Demleitner, Offenses Involving Immigration, Naturalization and Passports: Model Sentencing Guidelines 211, 212, 213, 214, 18 Fed. Sent'g Rep. 351 (2006).