According to a report released today by the nonpartisan think tank Migration Policy Institute, The United States spent nearly $18 billion in the 2012 fiscal year on immigration and customs enforcement. The amount is $4 Billion more than the U.S. Government spends on all other law enforcement agencies combined, including the FBI, Secret Service, DEA, U.S. Marshal Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

There’s a reason for the high cost. The Migration Policy Institute found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection also refer more cases to prosecution than those other agencies combined, and the immigration agencies also held more individuals in fiscal year 2011 than the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Still, the numbers are striking. Immigration enforcement has expanded rapidly since 1986, when Congress passed the enforcement-heavy Immigration Reform and Control Act. Since then, the U.S. has spent nearly $187 billion on immigration enforcement, according to the report. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, which led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security that now houses immigration enforcement, made the spending surge even more marked.

The government spends about 15 times more on immigration enforcement than it did in the mid-1980s, adjusted for inflation, the report found.

At the same time, deportations have exploded. The U.S. deported about 30,000 people in the 1990 fiscal year; in the 2012 fiscal year, it removed a record 409,894. A majority of those people were deported without an order from an immigration judge, instead using DHS’ discretion, the Migration Policy Institute found.

Source: Huffington Post