The United States spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other major federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, and it has increased that spending dramatically over the past quarter-century, according to a report released Monday by the nonpartisan Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.
The report, “Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery,” found that the U.S. government spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement in 2012. That is 24 percent more than it spent collectively for the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The spending went to the government’s two main immigration enforcement agencies — U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and to US-VISIT, a fingerprinting and photograph initiative to log international travelers at ports of entry.
The report also found that more people, nearly 430,000, are detained each year for immigration-related violations than are serving sentences in federal prisons for all federal crimes. And it found that deportations have soared from 30,000 in 1990 to nearly 400,000 in 2011. Taking into account the latest ICE statistics, which counted 409,849 removals in fiscal 2012, more than 4.4 million people have been deported since 1990, the report’s authors said.