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Gov't spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration spent more money on immigration enforcement in the last fiscal year than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a report on the government's enforcement efforts from a Washington think tank.

The report on Monday from the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan group focused on global immigration issues, said in the 2012 budget year that ended in September the government spent about $18 billion on immigration enforcement programs run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US-Visit program, and Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol. Immigration enforcement topped the combined budgets of the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Secret Service by about $3.6 billion dollars, the report's authors said.

Since then-President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986 — which legalized more than 3 million illegal immigrants and overhauled immigration laws — the government has spent more than $187 billion on immigration enforcement. According to the report, "Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery," federal immigration-related criminal prosecutions also outnumber cases generated by the Justice Department.

The 182-page report concludes that the Obama administration has made immigration its highest law enforcement priority. Critics are likely to bristle over its findings, especially those who have accused the administration of being soft on immigration violators.

"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," MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, a co-author of the report, said in a statement released with the report Monday.

The report by MPI's Meissner, Muzaffar Chishti, Donald Kerwin and Clair Bergeron, comes amid renewed interest in immigration reform from Congress and the White House.

In the immediate aftermath of the November election, congressional Republicans suggested the time was right to begin reform talks anew. President Barack Obama, who won a record share of Hispanic voters, renewed a previous pledge to make immigration reform a priority.

In the lead up to the election, Obama made several administrative changes to the immigration system, including launching a program to allow some young illegal immigrants to avoid deportation and work legally in the country for up to two years. His administration also refocused enforcement efforts to target criminal immigrants and those who posed a security threat. And just last week, the administration announced a rule change to allow some illegal immigrant spouses and children of U.S. citizens to stay in the country while they ask the government to waive 3- or 10-year bans on returning to the United States. Immigrants who win the waiver will still need to leave the country to complete visa paperwork, but will be able to leave without fear of being barred from returning to their families for up to a decade. The rule, first proposed last year, goes into effect in March.

Republican lawmakers have widely criticized the policy changes, routinely describing them as "backdoor amnesty." Many of those same lawmakers have said the border needs to be secured before reform can be taken up.

According to the MPI report and Border Patrol statistics, in 2011 agents arrested about 327,000 people at the southern border, the fewest in nearly 40 years. The Homeland Security Department also removed a record 396,906 immigrants that year. In 2012, nearly 410,000 people were removed from the United States.

Comments

pcjohn 1 year, 9 months ago

They obviously didn't spend much of that 18B here in Gwinnett. We're still inundated with Hispanics.

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DavidBrown 1 year, 9 months ago

"pcjohn", you comment demonstrates why the Republicans keep losing Presidential elections. Many analysts believe they lost the 2012 election because they lost the Hispanic vote. Keep up the good work.:)

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news2me 1 year, 9 months ago

I really pity you liberals. Winning is not important when you have to pander and lie to get votes / voters. The quantity of votes is more important to you than the quality of the voter. Rather pathetic that you claim victory in such a hollow way. Keep up the good work at destroying our once great country. ;)

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notblind 1 year, 9 months ago

It's all about the [D]. The [D] even trumps the country's well being.

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dentaldawg83 1 year, 9 months ago

nahhh..you folks bought this last election with all the free stuff you give away..

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R 1 year, 9 months ago

Hispanics aren't the problem, not by a long shot, ALL those in the country illegally RIGHT now are...

ILLEGALS come in every race, shade and creed - they will ALL continue to RAID us sapping our resources until the cover is bare.

Republicans WON'T win "Hispanics" or any other class of "potential" voter for that matter that sat out the last election until they STOP trying to share or split the vote of the dwindling old school democratic mindset.

THOSE folks will not vote Republican, even if Pres Obama himself switched parties tomorrow...

Trying to win that set will just "alienate" the real population they seek to gain. They need to look at ALL those who didn't vote period, THAT'S the future because that's the group that consists of people who realize all races are capable of following the law.

Beliefs to the contrary just degrade proud the heritages of those people we truly wish to add to our nation, who REALLY want to JOIN us as United States Citizens and are anxiously WAITING in line all over the world to do so.

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dentaldawg83 1 year, 9 months ago

one question..with the current administrations track record, I would like to know where all the money went..Bet a bunch of it went to offshore bank accounts of those who support the administration.

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notblind 1 year, 9 months ago

You ever heard of Solyndra ??? Lots of similar situations.

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R 1 year, 9 months ago

Detain, house, feed, release - repeat as often as necessary until the imaginary body-count required for whatever campaign promise made to whatever group that week is reached.

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kevin 1 year, 9 months ago

and to think that the Hispanics voted for Obama again. What brain-washed people they are. They will still be poor tomorrow and the next day. I won't hire any contractor that sends Hispanics to do any of the work on my place. I tell them all that ahead of time. Time to hire local people and start stopping to think that "cheaper" is better. This is the thinking by Americans in this country and that is why they all run to the U.S. We idiots keeps hiring them and supporting them. Please blame yourselves, for you reap what you sow!

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kevin 1 year, 9 months ago

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/01/hurricane_sandy_relief_package.html#incart_river_default

More Obama lies to get his bills passed. The GDP didn't list this story for us to talk about.

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