During the past fiscal year the Obama administration spent $18 billion dollars on immigration enforcement, according to a new report. Research from the Migration Policy Institute revealed that the funding for immigration enforcement dwarfs the amount given to any other federal law enforcement agency. Federal spending on the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives totaled just $14.4 billion combined, according to the report.
“Judging by resource levels, case volumes, and enforcement actions, which represent the only publicly available comprehensive measures of performance of the system, immigration enforcement can thus be seen to rank as the federal government’s highest criminal law enforcement priority,” MPI senior fellow Doris Meissner said in a statement accompanying the report.
The MPI’s findings counters Republican rhetoric on the weakness of the current border control measures, but conversely the high spending has been seemingly ineffective. Deportations have “increased dramatically,” with a larger number of cases that are never heard before an immigration judge.
Over the last five years the number of border crossers apprehended has decreased by 53 percent, though spending on staffing and technology has increased throughout the same period. Still, there are those who maintain that the country still is not doing enough to maintain its borders.
“There has been some progress,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas. “But the bottom line is that we are far from having operational control of our borders, particularly the Southwest border, and there are no metrics to quantify progress.”
As America continues to climb out of recession, the report asserts that spending cuts on immigration enforcement are imminent. MPI suggests that rather than focusing on “enforcement-first,” Washington will need to develop a fully rounded strategy for dealing with immigration issues. There are currently an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants believed to be living in the states.