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  • Bloggings: Obama Administration Spent $18 billion on Immigration Enforcement in 2012 by Matthew Kolken

    Bloggings on Deportation and Removal

    by Matthew Kolken

    Obama Administration Spent $18 billion on Immigration Enforcement in 2012

    Former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner along with Donald M. Kerwin, Muzaffar Chishti, and Claire Bergeron have issued a report entitled "Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery" that reveals that in 2012 the Obama administration spent nearly $18 billion dollars on immigration enforcement. 

    Here is the summary from the report:

    The US government spends more on federal immigration enforcement than on all other principal federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, and has allocated nearly $187 billion for immigration enforcement since 1986. Deportations have reached record highs, border apprehensions 40-year lows, and more noncitizens than ever before are in immigration detention. The report traces the evolution of the immigration enforcement system, particularly in the post-9/11 era, in terms of budgets, personnel, enforcement actions, and technology – analyzing how individual programs and policies have resulted in a complex, interconnected, cross-agency system.

    Some key findings:

    • More than 4 million non-citizens, primarily unauthorized immigrants, have been deported from the United States since 1990, with removals rising from 30,039 in FY 1990 to 391,953 in FY 2011.
    • Fewer than half of the non-citizens deported from the United States are removed pursuant to a formal hearing before an immigration judge, with the majority removed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) via its administrative authority.
    • The nearly 430,000 non-citizens detained in the immigration detention system in FY 2011 exceeded the number serving sentences in federal Bureau of Prisons facilities for all other federal crimes.
    • Immigration enforcement spending has totaled nearly $187 billion in the 26 years since IRCA ($219 billion in 2012 dollars).
    • Spending on CBP, ICE and DHS’s primary immigration enforcement technology initiative, the US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program, reached $17.9 billion in FY 2012. In comparison, total spending for all other federal criminal law enforcement agencies (the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) stood at $14.4 billion in FY 2012.

    Happy New Year!


    About The Author

    Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).


    The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.
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