CBP spent 18 billion in enforcing immigration laws in 2012

More than all other agencies combined

CBP spent 18 billion in enforcing immigration laws in 2012Image of an inspection point at the port of entry between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego,CA. Efe/Archieve
Image of an inspection point at the port of entry between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego,CA. Efe/Archieve

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WASHINGTON. - According to a report released last month by the Migration Policy Institute. In 2012, the U.S. Government spent more in the agencies that monitor compliance with immigration laws and border enforcement, than all of the other federal agencies combined.

The report indicates that in fiscal year 2012, the U.S. spent almost 18 billion dollars in enforcing measures against illegal immigration, and indicates that it is an increase of 24% more than what it spent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA ) and the Secret Service.

Specifically, these funds were directed to the offices of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the "U.S. VISIT" program that is part of the Department of Homeland Security that supplies the technology for collecting and storing biometric data, provides analysis and updates its watchlist.

14.4 billion dollars were spent for other federal agencies dedicated to fighting against criminal activities, such as the FBI, DEA, Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the report indicated.

Since 1986, when the government passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, the U.S. has spent around 186.8 billion dollars in enforcing measures against illegal immigration, according to the document entitled "Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery.”

Border surveillance, especially in the Southwest border, "represents the most heavily funded and publicized element of border enforcement,” which the Government has allocated "historical resource increases."

The "dramatic increases" in resources for CBP, includes the number of agents that has doubled in the past seven years, reaching 21,370 officers in 2012.

More than four million foreigners, many of them undocumented, have been deported since 1990, which back then was just over 30,000 per year, to almost 400,000 in 2011, the report said.

The report also noted a decrease in arrests along the border since the year 2000, reflecting the weakening of the U.S. economy, strengthening of border enforcement and changes in the factors that encourage illegal immigration from Mexico. In fiscal year 2011, there were 340,252 people arrested which is a fifth than that of in 2000, and the lowest figure since 1970, according to the analysis.

The MPI report of 182 pages was released at a time when the Obama administration and Congress are preparing to revive the debate on a possible immigration reform.

A reform that might help regulate 11 million illegal immigrants living in this country.

However, most republicans continue to oppose to these measures which "reward" those who break the law by entering the country illegally.

The Obama administration has been also under heavy criticism over actions that have been taken by police against illegal immigration. In fiscal year 2012, according to ICE, 409,849 people were deported from the U.S.

The president has promised to push for an immigration reform soon after his inauguration for his second and last term on January 21, 2013.

editorial@sandiegored.com

omar.martinez@sandiegored.com

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