A new study from the Migration Policy Institute documents a shocking amount of money being devoted to keeping immigrants out of the U.S. How much money?
The U.S. government spends more on federal immigration enforcement than on all other principal federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, with the nearly $18 billion spent in fiscal 2012 approximately 24 percent higher than collective spending for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
And then there's this:
The nation's main immigration enforcement agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), refer more cases for federal prosecution than all Justice Department law enforcement agencies.
And a larger number of individuals are detained each year in the immigration detention system (just under 430,000 in fiscal 2011) than are serving sentences in federal Bureau of Prisons facilities for all other federal crimes.
Read the whole report, which shows massive increases in spending and manpower devoted to keeping goddamn immigrants out of the country's kitchens, poolhouses, and backyards. And by massive, we're talking not just about the fact that we devote more tax dollars to immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agences. We're talking about 15 times the spending since Ronald Reagan provided a path to citizenship for millions of illegals back in the late 1980s.
For those who think of the GOP as the anti-immigrant party, chew on this:
The ranks of the U.S. Border Patrol have more than doubled during the past seven years, to more than 21,000 in the 2012 fiscal year. At the same time, the government ramped up criminal prosecutions of illegal immigrants, with CBP and ICE referring more cases for prosecution than all Justice Department agencies combined, the report found.
Arrests along the border fluctuated for decades, but dropped sharply with the 2008 recession and the stepped-up enforcement, reaching a 40-year low in 2012. Deportations from America's interior have swelled, with removals growing from 30,000 in 1990 to a record-setting 409,000 last year.
Put more prosaically, President Barack Obama so loves immigrants, especially illegal ones, that he has set "the record for the highest number of removals" during a single presidential term. And true to form, Obama isn't just walking Mexicans back across the border; he's raiding record numbers of U.S. businesses that may or may not employ such willing workers.
Truth be told, the GOP does pretty much suck when it comes to immigrants. The more complete truth is: So do the Democrats, especially the guy at the top of that particular club.
The Migration Policy Institute report quantifies just how much money we're flushing down the toilet to try and keep out people desperate enough for a better life that they're literally and figuratively willing to clean our toilets. As Obama continues to say that comprehensive immigration reform is one of the top priorities of his second term (along with tax reform, spending reform, infrastructure reform, educational reform, health care reform, and the creation of a light beer that actually tastes great and is less filling), this report is essential reading for anyone who cares about the issue.
Why do immigrants come here anyway? Here's a reminder from 2010: