Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2021

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Law and Justice

Committee Chair

Cody Stoddard

Second Committee Member

Todd Schaefer

Third Committee Member

Robert Claridge


Immigration has remained one of the most controversial political debates throughout the United States. Research has yet to fully examine the effects of political affiliation of federal districts on sentencing outcomes for specific immigration offenses. To fill the gaps in research, this study compares political affiliation of federal districts among immigration offenses to determine variations in sentencing outcomes. Data included Presidential and House of Representative votes for the 2016 election and Monitoring of Federal Sentencing for the fiscal years of 2015-2016. Analysis includes case processing/legal variables, defendant characteristics, and political affiliation. To analyze political affiliation, a binary logistic regression was used for an in/out decision and a linear regression was used to determine sentence length in months. Following previous research, findings suggest that case processing and legal variables have a stronger influence on sentencing outcomes when compared to defendant characteristics. Results indicated that among illegal re-entry offenses, districts labeled as Republican were less likely to provide defendants with a prison sentence when compared to districts labeled as Democratic. However, districts labeled as Republican on average provided defendants with longer sentences when compared to districts labeled as Democratic.