by Diane Tuazon
MIDLAND - President Bush says he's always supported immigration laws that serve the economic needs of our country, and expressed his support for a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.
But the vast majority of immigration prosecutions came from bush's own backyard right here in West Texas.
Last fiscal year, there were almost 80 thousand immigration cases prosecuted in the districts of southern and western Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
"It's a consequence of the policy in cracking down on the unlawful immigration. They perceived that there was a problem with people who re-enter the country after they've been excluded," Immigration Attorney Mike Borland, said.
Those who attempt illegal re-entry and are caught, are subject to a criminal prosecution to a federal misdemeanor with up to 2 years in prison.
But with nearly 80,000 prosecutions, over crowded penitentiaries is now raising concerns.
"You put 20 thousand more people in that system, you're going to over burden the federal penitentiaries," Borland said.
20 new federal prosecuters have been hired in the southern Texas district to help handle the surge in immigration prosecution.
The immigration attorney NewsWest 9 spoke to said the problem is having to balance the detrement to society of illegal immigration against the cost of what we pay to prosecute.