Gov’t Spent $18 Billion on Immigration Enforcement

Alicia A. Caldwell, Yahoo! News, January 7, 2013

The Obama administration spent more money on immigration enforcement in the last fiscal year than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a report on the government’s enforcement efforts from a Washington think tank.

The report on Monday from the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan group focused on global immigration issues, said in the 2012 budget year that ended in September the government spent about $18 billion on immigration enforcement programs run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US-Visit program, and Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol. Immigration enforcement topped the combined budgets of the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Secret Service by about $3.6 billion dollars, the report’s authors said.

Since then-President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986—which legalized more than 3 million illegal immigrants and overhauled immigration laws—the government has spent more than $187 billion on immigration enforcement. {snip}

The 182-page report concludes that the Obama administration has made immigration its highest law enforcement priority.


Critics are likely to bristle over its findings, especially those who have accused the administration of being soft on immigration violators.

“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.”


Demetrios Papademetriou, MPI’s president, said that the authors reviewed immigration enforcement policies and spending from 1986 on amid ongoing disagreements in Congress on whether border security and enforcement efforts needed to be solidified before reform could be tackled.

“No nation anywhere in the world has been as determined, has made as deep and expensive a commitment to or has had as deep a reach in its enforcement efforts as the U.S. has had,” Papademetriou said. “The reach spans from local court rooms and jails all the way to the ability of goods and travelers to the United States to actually be able to travel to the United States.”

According to federal budgets reviewed by MPI, CBP spent about $11.7 billion on its enforcement operations while ICE had a budget of about $5.9 billion in 2012. US-Visit accounted for about $307 million.

As spending has risen in recent years, the number of arrests at the border has steadily dropped. In 2011, agents made about 327,000 arrests at the southern border, the fewest in nearly 40 years. The Homeland Security Department also removed a record 396,906 immigrants that year. In 2012, nearly 410,000 people were removed from the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has repeatedly touted those statistics as evidence that the border is now more secure than ever.

{snip} Meissner said that the growth of illegal immigration in the U.S. is now at a standstill.


Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Enar_Larsson

    —The 182-page report concludes that the Obama administration has made immigration its highest law enforcement priority.—

    I guess they must be including all the money for litigation against the states that actually try to enforce federal immigration law; litigation against citizens who defend their ranches; the “outreach” programs partnering with the Mexican government to educate Mexican prospective illegal emigrants about food stamps; the hotline for illegal immigrants whose feelings are hurt by Arizona police; the purchase of scores of millions of hollow point bullets for “training” purposes, etc.

    • The__Bobster

      Does this include the money they spent on catching perverts so that they “didn’t have the funds or manpower” to go after squat monster invaders?

      In fact ICE SVU is busy arresting American citizens for sex crimes; crimes
      that are traditionally enforced at the local level, or at the Federal level, by
      the FBI. To wit ICE SVU recently arrested a Puerto Rican woman for pimping out
      her daughter, both of whom are American citizens.

      Another Reason Immigration Arrests Have Collapsed:
      ICE Wasting Resources Enforcing Wrong Laws
      By Federale on July 19, 2012
      at 9:07pm

      U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has decided that investigating
      common State level criminal offenses is what it wants to do. In this case ICE
      wasted valuable resources investigating an American citizen for producing child
      pornography in the United States. There is no connection to any immigration
      violation, any customs violation or any terrorism violation. Why was ICE
      involved in investigating this crime?

      • Bill

        Most of those violators are hispanics legal and illegal. There is a huge under culture of child abuse and child prostitution in the hispanic community. One more reason we don’t need their “family values” in this country.

        • bigone4u

          Right you are. I wish more people were aware of it. It’s often incest involving young girls and fathers or grandfathers or uncles, etc. One lonely socially retarded white guy here locally was hit with a 60 year prison sentence for buying the services of a highly developed 12 year old Mexican girl, already an experienced prostitute. The paper pretty much ignored the Mexican family’s involvement in pimping her out. 60 years is too much, given that the local Mexican culture tolerates or even encourages it.

        • The__Bobster

          Most of the violators apprehended by ICE happen to be non-latino American citizens. The two cases I cited were an exception. This is a job that the local police should be in charge of, not ICE.

  • Triarius

    That invisible fence that was promised to work must have a high annual upkeep cost.

    • The__Bobster

      I hear it’s 500′ tall, so the invaders would need a 501′ invisible ladder to scale it.

  • The__Bobster

    The report on Monday from the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan group focused on global immigration issues…..


    Non-partisan??!! Really, Yahoo, how much crap do you expect us to swallow?

    Let’s look at some of their work:

    • David Ashton

      Thanks for picking this up.

  • JDInSanDiego

    We ought to be sending the bill to the illegal’s country of origin, as well as blocking any legal entry from those countries until the bill is paid, as well as confiscating all the cash and property of any illegal found here.

  • Bill

    Bull. Does ANYBODY believe the propaganda coming out of the Fed and media?

  • So CAL Snowman

    Ha ha, Yahoo! already disabled the page. Oh Yahoo! when will you learn?

  • bigone4u

    Illegals are all over San Antonio Texas. Have been ever since I moved there many years ago. Law enforcement turns a blind eye to in my experience, and so long as they get their yard work done on the cheap, the local white upper middle class does not care. I hate this idea that it’s OK to ignore some laws but whack people in the butt for other transgressions. Hypocritical and disgusting in my book.

  • Jefferson

    Why does Los Angeles for example look like Honduras, if Obama is so “tough” on illegal immigration.

  • The__Bobster

    The money was obviously not spent on a fence.

    Since Obama became president, all construction on the fence specified in the legislation (similar to the Israeli fence built on the Gaza strip) has stopped….While some low, single-layer fencing has been built, there are huge gaps in between the fences and the new vehicle barriers can simply be straddled, as they are merely 3-4 feet tall.

    …In fact, in early 2009, the Government Accountability Office reported that only 32 miles of double-layered fencing had been constructed.

    As former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) pointed out in a May 2010 Human Events op-ed: “That means under President Obama, only 2.3 miles of it has been built over an entire year.”

  • NM156

    The Justice Dept. and ICE aren’t detaining any illegal who isn’t a criminal. In other words, anyone who wants to come to the US can come to the US. Whom exactly is this politicized report for? They really must think the public is stupid.

  • odius liberal

    Handing out EBT cards isn’t enforcement.

  • IKantunderstand

    The advances made on immigration enforcement were superseded by the administrations doctrine of transparency! Gosh, it’s hard to pick which promise Obama filled better.

  • Michael_C_Scott

    “Government Spent $18 Billion on Immigration Enforcement.”

    Government Borrowed $18 Billion from China and Wasted it on Dog-and-Pony Show Pretending to Enforce Criminal Alien Invasion”.

    There; I fixed it.