Immigration agency costs more than all other law enforcement

American Immigration AgencyThe US Government has spent nearly 24% more money on federal America immigration enforcement than on all other primary law enforcements combined in 2012, including the FBI, according to a new report that was released yesterday.

The report from the Migration Policy Institute think tank says that $18 billion was spent in 2012 by the federal government on Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and the US VISIT program, which is the primary immigration enforcement program of Homeland Security that stores pictures and fingerprints of foreign visitors to the US.  The combined total for every other law enforcement agency including the FBI, Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the US Marshals service and the Drug Enforcement Agency was just $14.4 billion.

The report, which was 182 pages long, says that there are now more people detained every year in the immigration system than there are in federal Bureau of Prison facilities for every other form of Federal crime.

“Today immigration enforcement can be seen as the federal government’s highest criminal law enforcement priority, judged on the basis of budget allocations, enforcement actions and case volumes,” says Doris Meissner, an MPI senior fellow who served as the US Immigration and Naturalization Services Commissioner from between 1993 and 2000.

The report’s authors claim that the data proves that stricter border controls have been set up and are working correctly, although Meissner notes that these controls are not enough in and of themselves and serve more as a “precondition” of broader immigration policy reform.