MPI Study on Immigration Enforcement
The nonpartisan research group Migration Policy Institute released a new report, Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery, detailing the Obama administration's increased spending on immigration enforcement. As reported by the New York Times:
The Obama administration spent nearly $18 billion on immigration enforcement last year, significantly more than its spending on all the other major federal law enforcement agencies combined . . . .
In recent years, it found, the two main immigration enforcement agencies under the Department of Homeland Security have referred more cases to the courts for prosecution than all of the Justice Department’s law enforcement agencies combined, including the F.B.I., the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.The report has a chapter on the intersection of immigration enforcement and the criminal justice system. Some interesting (but not surprising) figures—particularly given that apprehensions of illegal border crossers have plunged by 53% since 2008—from pages 93-94:
- Illegal entry and illegal reentry comprise more than 90% of immigration-related prosecutions;
- Between FY 2000 and FY 2010, the number of noncitizens prosecuted for illegal entry rose more than tenfold, from 3900 to 43,700;
- Between FY 2000 and FY 2010, the number of noncitizens prosecuted for illegal reentry tripled from 7900 to 35,800;
- Between FY 2000-03, prosecutions for immigration offenses accounted for 17-21% of the total number of federal prosecutions;
- Between FY 2008-11, prosecutions for immigration offenses accounted for more than 50% of federal prosecutions; and
- Nearly 20% of "criminal aliens" removed in 2010 were convicted of immigration-related crimes only.
CBP now refers more cases to US Attorneys for criminal prosecution than does the FBI. Together, CBP and ICE refer more cases for criminal prosecution than do all DOJ law enforcement agencies combined. Partly as a result of the new trends in immigration prosecutions, the five federal judicial districts along the US-Mexico border, which are home to less than 10 percent of Americans, now account for nearly half of all federal felony prosecutions in the United States.