With Nataliya Binshteyn
A new report released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) – “Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery” – reveals that the Obama administration has spent more on immigration enforcement in fiscal year 2012 than on all other federal criminal law enforcement combined, with an estimated $18 billion in expenditures.
According to the report, the resources allocated toward immigration enforcement programs in the U.S. surpassed the combined budgets of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Secret Service by approximately $3.6 billion. In addition to a record number of deportations – 409,849 people in fiscal year 2012 compared to 188,467 people in 2000 – the Obama administration has made immigration a top enforcement priority, with referrals for prosecution by federal government agencies outnumbering referrals by the U.S. Department of Justice and its agencies.
Importantly, the Obama administration has also refocused enforcement to prioritize the removal of foreign nationals with criminal records while implementing new programs to assist undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and ease family separations for the undocumented immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens.