Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
A detailed new report release by the Migration Policy Institute reveals the sophistication and cost– both human and monetary– of the United States’ immigration policy in recent years.
According to the nearly 200-page report, the US system is based upon 6 pillars: border enforcement; visa controls and travel screening; information and interoperability of data systems; workplace enforcement; intersection between criminal justice system and immigration enforcement; and detention and removal of noncitizens. Each area is described in detail.
The report includes a wealth of information about the intricacies of the Department of Homeland Security and how immigration enforcement intersects with the criminal justice system, the FBI, and the CIA. Probably the most dramatic finding is:
The US government spends more on its immigration enforcement agencies than on all its other principal criminal federal law enforcement agencies combined. In FY 2012, spending for CBP [Customs and Border Protection], ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], and US-VISIT reached nearly $18 billion. This amount exceeds by approximately 24 percent total spending for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Secret Service, US Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which stood at $14.4 billion in FY 2012.
Judging by resource levels, case volumes, and enforcement actions…immigration enforcement can thus be seen to rank as the federal government’s highest criminal law enforcement priority.
Whoa. More key findings after the jump.
The human cost behind these statistics is staggering. They paint a picture of our government spending billions to track down and detain noncitizens, who, for the most part, are law-abiding people trying to make a living and feed their families. In the process, citizens are also harassed.
Who benefits from this level of enforcement and surveillance? Not the workers whose families are torn apart by deportation or migration. Not the citizen children who lose their unauthorized family members. And not the American public– except for those who land jobs in the military-industrial complex– border patrol, private prisons, or high-tech merchants of death and surveillance.
From citizen surveillance systems to fences and high-tech gadgets, the capitalists are the beneficiaries of the US immigration system. And politicians like Governor Jan Brewer and the high school graduates in the Arizona Legislature perpetuate the system by selling it to us with fear.
The Obama administration wants Congress to take up meaningful immigration reform in the coming months. Each section in this report has a list of key findings. This is only a small sample of the findings. Please read this document before the mainstream media starts spinning nonsense.
If anyone dares tell you that we need to secure the border before we do anything else— show them this report. With these levels of spending and enforcement, how can they continue to spin that line? Stop wasting money on this. It’s time for real action on immigration reform.
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