Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery

by Muzaffar Chishti; Donald M. Kerwin; Doris Meissner; Claire Bergeron

Jan 1, 2013

The US government spends more on federal immigration enforcement than on all other principal federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, and has allocated nearly $187 billion for immigration enforcement since 1986. Deportations have reached record highs, border apprehensions 40-year lows, and more noncitizens than ever before are in immigration detention. The report traces the evolution of the immigration enforcement system, particularly in the post-9/11 era, in terms of budgets, personnel, enforcement actions, and technology -- analyzing how individual programs and policies have resulted in a complex, interconnected, cross-agency system.

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