Washington, D.C — The Obama administration has made immigration its highest law enforcement priority, according to a report released today by the Migration Policy Institute. The federal government spent nearly $18 billion in immigration enforcement in fiscal year 2012, an amount approximately 24 percent higher than the combined spending on all other federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Secret Service.
The fact is that our borders are much safer and better monitored that they have been in decades. Unprecedented manpower, infrastructure and technology deployed in the last ten years for border security efforts led to a drop in apprehensions at the Southwest border to a level not seen since the 1970s. The plunge in apprehension is widely viewed as an indication that fewer immigrants are crossing illegally into the U.S.
“In this belt-tightening era, our government can’t afford to continue to spend billions of dollars at immigration enforcement without a national immigration strategy,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Immigration enforcement spending should be examined through the lens of eliminating wasteful government spending, strengthening America’s global standing, and keeping the nation secure.
“Congress should eliminate government programs that are wasteful and burdensome, like Operation Streamline, which has inundated our court system and wasted precious judicial resources without any proven benefits. Effective border security policies will use taxpayers’ dollars wisely by focusing enforcement resources on the most serious security threats.
“The border is as secure as it can get without a functioning legal immigration infrastructure provided by broad immigration reform. Congress should get to work right away on long-lasting, practical solutions that fundamentally improve our immigration process.”