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Report shows immigration enforcement was top priority for federal government in 2012

Earlier today, the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide," released a rather eye-opening report concerning the current state of the immigration detention/enforcement system here in the U.S.

Interestingly, this report-- entitled "Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery" -- concluded that immigration enforcement is currently the number one law enforcement concern for the federal government.

In support of this conclusion, the authors provided the following figures:

  • In fiscal year 2012, the federal government allocated roughly $18 billion to immigration enforcement programs operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other immigration agencies; this was about $3.6 billion higher than the combined budgets of the FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Marshals Service and ATF
  • ICE and CBP submitted more cases for federal prosecution than all other law enforcement agencies of the Justice Department
  • Over 4 million undocumented immigrants have been deported since 1990; however, there were 30,039 deportations in fiscal year 1990 versus 391,953 in fiscal year 2011

"Today, immigration enforcement can be seen as the federal government's highest criminal law enforcement priority, judged on the basis of budget allocations, enforcement actions and case volumes," said Doris Meissner, a Senior Fellow with the MPI who co-authored the 182-page report.

It should be interesting to see if the Obama Administration -- and the federal government as a whole -- begins to soften this hard line stance toward immigration over the course of the next year.

However, as discussed on our blog over the last several months, this may already be occurring. For example, President Obama has already introduced several administrative changes to the immigration system, while Congress has expressed a willingness to revisit meaningful immigration reform following the November elections.

Stay tuned for updates our Los Angeles County immigration law blog ...

If you are facing immigration detention or have already been detained on an immigration-related matter, an experienced lawyer can help ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


KFMB, "Gov't spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement," Alicia Caldwell, Jan. 7, 2012

Migration Policy Institute, "U.S. spends more on immigration enforcement than on FBI, DEA, Secret Service & all other federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined," Jan. 7, 2012

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