Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

New US immigration report reveals ‘formidable’ & expensive machinery to secure border

brownskinA 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.

 Other findings…

  • Border Patrol staffing, technology, and infrastructure have reached historic highs, but apprehensions have fallen to historic lows. “Between FY200-11, Border Patrol apprehensions fell from a peak of more that 1.6 million to 340,252, or one-fifth of the 2000 high point. The drop has been 53 percent since just FY 2008.”
  • Close to 400,000 people are removed from the US each year– an historic numbers of removals.
  • “Since 1990, more than 4 million deportations of noncitizens have been carried out. Removals have increased dramatically in recent years, rising from 30,039 in 1990 to 188,467 in 2000, and reaching 391,953 in FY 2011.”
  • In FY 2011, 48 percent of noncitizens who were removed had criminal records– up from 27 percent in FY 2008.
  • “The average daily population of noncitizens detained by ICE increased nearly fivefold between FY 1995 and FY 2011: from 7,475 to 33,330 [remember, that’s daily]. Over the same period, the annual total number of ICE detainees increased from 85,730 to 429,247.”
  • “The number of people booked into the immigration detention system each year dwarfs the volume managed by the nation’s federal prison system.” [Emphasis added. Don’t forget the roles of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Correction Corporation of America (CCA) in building this for-profit abomination. “Illegal immigrants” are a capitalist’s dream, and their lackeys in state legislatures are helping them grow this business.]
  • Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) “refers more cases for prosecution in federal courts than the FBI. CBP and ICE together refer more cases for prosecution than all of the DOJ [Department of Justice] agencies combined, including FBI, DEA, and ATF.”
  • “Over 50 crimes categorized as ‘aggravated felonies carry the automatic consequence of removal. State-level prosecutions of these crimes have placed an unprecedented number of non citizens into immigration removal proceedings.”
  • An estimated 16.6 million US residents are part of families with at least one unauthorized immigrant.
  • Nine million US residents are part of “mixed status” families that contain at least one unauthorized citizen parent, and one child who is a US citizen by birth.
  • There were 10.2 million unauthorized adult immigrants living in the United States in 2010; 63 percent have lived here for a decade or longer.
  • As estimated 4.5 million US-born children have at least one unauthorized parent.
  • In the first 6 months of 2011, “ICE removed 46,486 noncitizens who claimed to have a US citizen child.”
  • In the 26 years since the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was created, the US has spent $186.8 billion ($219.1 billion in adjusted 2012 dollars) on immigration enforcement.

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.

2 comments on “New US immigration report reveals ‘formidable’ & expensive machinery to secure border

  1. Pingback: Walk Down Memory Lane to July 2013 When Boehner & #GOP Failed to ‘Govern’ | Tucson Progressive

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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