Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Plutora Blog, Bart Copeland, Andreas Grabner, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner

News Feed Item

New Report Offers Deceptive Assessment of Immigration Enforcement

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report being promoted by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a research institute dedicated to promoting migration, paints a deliberately misleading picture of the state of immigration law enforcement.   The report, titled Immigration Enforcement in the United States:  The Rise of a Formidable Machinery, is presented as an objective assessment of immigration programs, and has been widely covered in the news media -- but is riddled with false statements, cherry-picked statistics and inappropriate comparisons.  This compilation of bogus findings aims to convince opinion leaders and the public that the government has succeeded in creating an effective "bulwark" of immigration enforcement that cannot be improved upon much, and suggests that spending cuts might be in order.  MPI seems to have issued this report in an attempt to help sell the President's immigration agenda, which includes amnesty for illegal immigrants, further restrictions on immigration enforcement, and expanded legal immigration.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120806/MM52838LOGO)

Researchers at the Center for Immigration Studies have found numerous problems in the MPI report.  Below, in bold, are some of the false and/or deceptive statements found in the report's executive summary, followed by our critique.

  • "U.S. Spends More on Immigration Enforcement than on FBI, DEA, Secret Service & All Other Federal Criminal Law Enforcement Agencies Combined; Nearly $187 Billion Spent on Federal Immigration Enforcement over Past 26 Years."  This is the headline on the MPI press release, and the most egregious falsehood in the report.  First, MPI grossly inflates the immigration enforcement spending totals by tallying all spending by three Department of Homeland Security agencies -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US-VISIT.  But a large share of these agencies' activities are not immigration enforcement, including  customs screening and enforcement, drug and weapons interdiction, cargo inspection, returning stolen antiquities, and intellectual property violations.  Some of these agencies' activities, such as inspecting incoming travelers at ports of entry and maintaining databases, are not enforcement at all, but routine administrative work.  It is impossible to determine how much the federal government has spent on immigration enforcement in any year, much less the last 26 years, because the Department of Homeland Security and its predecessor, INS, have never tracked these activities; but one thing is obvious – that amount is certainly far less than $187 billion. It is probably at least 25-30% less, judging by historical budgets for Customs enforcement. 
  • Second, MPI's comparison of immigration enforcement spending to other federal law enforcement spending is similarly deceptive.  MPI fails to include several big-ticket agencies in its tally of other principal federal law enforcement expenditures, such as the federal prison system and the U.S. Attorneys.  This is important, because MPI counted similar program expenses in ICE and CBP's budget (immigration detention, Border Patrol, and ICE trial attorneys).[i]
  • Further, MPI excludes expenses of more than a dozen other federal law enforcement agencies that are part of "other federal law enforcement."  Some of these law enforcement agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), have budgets larger than ICE, DEA, or ATF.[ii]
  • A few simple adjustments turn MPI's dubious calculations upside-down.  Subtract a conservative estimate for customs enforcement ($4.4 billion) from the immigration agencies, and add the Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Attorneys, and TSA to the "All Others" total spending, then immigration enforcement costs closer to half of "All Others," not more, as MPI claims  (See Table 1).  Add in the other missing federal law enforcement agencies and the whole point about a huge immigration enforcement complex disappears.
  • Some of what MPI calls immigration enforcement overlaps and possibly even surpasses the efforts of other federal criminal law enforcement agencies.  It would be interesting to compare, for example, the number of CBP drug and weapons seizures with DEA and ATF statistics, and the number of ICE gang arrests and prosecutions with FBI activities.   That is beyond the scope of this fact sheet, but such an analysis would give some context to MPI's facile spending comparisons. 
  • "Border Patrol staffing, technology and infrastructure have reached historic highs, while levels of apprehensions have fallen to historic lows."  Border Patrol funding is higher than ever, but illegal immigration has been higher in the last decade than 20 or 40 years ago.  Apprehensions are down overall, but that is an incomplete measure of progress, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which has concluded that DHS had achieved operational control of only a small share of the southwest border.  According to the latest GAO report, the border patrol is intercepting only an estimated 61% of illegal crossers.[iii]
  • "CBP and ICE together refer more cases for prosecution than all Department of Justice (DOJ) law enforcement agencies combined."  This MPI factoid is based on data they retrieved with a do-it-yourself on-line analytical tool, and is therefore difficult to replicate.[iv]  In any case, immigration prosecutions are the fast food of the federal criminal justice system; there are lots of offenders, the cases are relatively simple, and the sentences (if any) are relatively short because removal is usually the outcome.  Another more accessible and perhaps more reliable source, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, reports that immigration cases represent a much smaller share of the federal criminal justice docket than MPI suggests.  Their 2011 annual report says that immigration offenders were 35% of all those sentenced in federal court that year, meaning there were twice as many sentenced offenders from non-immigration agency prosecutions than from CBP and ICE.[v]  However, this same report notes that 10% of murderers, 31% of drug traffickers, 34% of money launderers, 64% of kidnappers, and 28% of food and drug offenders sentenced that year were non-citizens, so it's easy to see why immigration enforcement should be such a high priority in federal law enforcement.  Obviously these two sets of data are measuring different things – referrals for prosecution and sentenced offenders -- but they are equally valid measures of the immigration agencies' footprint in the federal criminal justice system.  MPI obviously preferred the more melodramatic of the two.
  • "Since 1990, more than 4 million non-citizens, primarily unauthorized immigrants, have been deported from the United States.  Removals have increased dramatically in recent years . . . "  As the President has said, these numbers are "actually a little deceptive."[vi]  The "dramatic" increases in deportations, removals and returns occurred between 2005 and 2009; since then, the numbers have flattened out.[vii]  By discussing the increases over the time span 1990 to 2011, MPI is able to avoid drawing attention to the recent stagnation in enforcement.  It has been established that recent deportation statistics are heavily padded with cases that were not previously counted as such.[viii] In addition, ICE arrests have been trending downward since 2008, after a sharp rise that year; it's hard to see how deportations can be rising when apprehensions are falling.[ix]
  • "Fewer than half of the noncitizens who are removed from the United States are removed following hearings and pursuant to formal removal orders from immigration judges."  MPI tries to give the impression that noncitizens are being denied due process.  As discussed in a recent CIS publication,[x] there are many reasons why DHS is able to remove noncitizens without a hearing.  The main reason is because most of the aliens selected for removal by ICE are not entitled to a hearing, either because they are convicted criminals or because they have been ordered removed before.  Considering how backlogged the immigration court system is, which MPI notes with great concern, the fact that DHS is using more expedited processing in many cases should be viewed with approval, not alarm. 
  • "The average daily population of noncitizens detained by ICE increased nearly five-fold between FY 1995-11 . . . . a significantly larger number of individuals are detained each year in the immigration detention system than are serving sentences in federal Bureau of Prisons facilities for all other federal crimes."  This is another silly apples-to-anchovies comparison.  MPI compares the static number of federal prisoners (about 218,000) with a year's worth of immigration detainees (429,000).  It would have been more appropriate (but still pointless) to compare the average daily immigration detention population (33,000) with the BOP number.  MPI probably also noticed on the Bureau of Prisons web site that immigration offenders represent only 12% of the federal inmate population, a statistic that does not fit in with their portrayal of a massive immigration enforcement dragnet that dominates the federal corrections system.  But as MPI notes, the immigration detention system is not at all like the federal prison system in purpose or nature.  Immigration detention is more comparable to the local jail system, which has an average daily population of about 750,000 inmates.[xi]

Spending for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agencies Compared To All Other Comparable Federal Law Enforcement Agencies: FY 2012 (in billions)

Immigration and Customs

Customs and Border Protection

11.8

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

5.8

US-Visit

2.6


Total

20.2


Estimated Customs Enforcement Expenses

4.4


Total Adjusted for Customs Enforcement

15.8


Other Comparable Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

Federal Bureau of Investigations

8.1

Drug Enforcement Administration

2

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

1.2

U.S. Marshals

1.2

Secret Service

1.9

U.S. Attorneys

2

TSA

7.8


Total

24.2



Estimated Customs Enforcement Expenses

4.4



Total Adjusted for Customs Enforcement

28.6



Source:  DHS Budget in Brief 2012 and DOJ Summary of Budget Authority 2012

[i] Moreover, the figures MPI uses for the immigration agencies' spending are actually budget requests, not appropriations or expenditures.  In contrast, the other federal law enforcement spending figures are amounts actually expended.  A small point, perhaps, but indicative of their sloppy methodology. 
[ii] Other federal law enforcement agencies excluded include the National Park Service, Federal Protective Service, Treasury agents, and LEAs attached to the large federal departments, such as State, Defense (including Military Police), Agriculture, U.S. Postal Service, and so on. 
[iii] Government Accountability Office, Border Patrol:  Key Elements of New Strategic Plan Not Yet In Place to Inform Border Security Status and Resource Needs, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-25
[iv] http://tracfed.syr.edu/trachelp/tools/help_tools_godeep3.shtml
[v] U.S. Sentencing Commission, 2011 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics, http://www.ussc.gov/Data_and_Statistics/Annual_Reports_and_Sourcebooks/2011/SBTOC11.htm.
[vi] Vaughan, "Obama:  Deportation Numbers Actually a Little Deceptive, "http://cis.org/vaughan/actually-a-little-deceptive
[vii] DHS Immigration Enforcement Actions, 201, http://www.dhs.gov/immigration-enforcement-actions-2011 
[viii] Rep. Lamar Smith, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/26/obama-puts-illegals-ahead-of-americans/
[ix] DHS Immigration Enforcement Actions, 2011
[x] Reasoner and Vaughan, "Secure Communities By the Numbers, Part 3,"http://cis.org/SC-by-the-numbers-critique-part3.  "If the law doesn't require it; if Congress has provided other forms of due process outside of the immigration court venue; if immigration judge hearings are lengthy, often delayed, and costly to taxpayers; and if scheduling a hearing substantially prolongs the length of detention for many aliens who are neither entitled to be released on bond nor have any reasonable chance at relief from deportation, then there are few reasons why the government should opt to go the immigration judge hearing route when alternatives exist, whereas there are many sound reasons not to do so."
[xi] Bureau of Justice Statistics, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/ and Bureau of Prisons, http://www.bop.gov/locations/weekly_report.jsp.

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization. Since its founding in 1985, the Center has pursued a single mission – providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States.

CONTACT: Jessica Vaughan,[email protected], (508) 346-3380

SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understand...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use c...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, includin...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impac...
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of present...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market. With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been ...
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, de...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focu...
Security can create serious friction for DevOps processes. We've come up with an approach to alleviate the friction and provide security value to DevOps teams. In her session at DevOps Summit, Shannon Lietz, Senior Manager of DevSecOps at Intuit, will discuss how DevSecOps got started and how it has evolved. Shannon Lietz has over two decades of experience pursuing next generation security solutions. She is currently the DevSecOps Leader for Intuit where she is responsible for setting and driv...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes ...