Enforcing Immigration Laws within the United States
After September 11th terrorist attacks, the US government passed a Homeland Security Act in 2002 which resulted in the creation of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with three main sub-divisions of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The DHS holds the main responsibility towards the functioning of the Immigration and Nationality Act enforcement as well as unifies and co-ordinates various government agencies and advisory groups for the security of nation.
Necessity to increase the immigration enforcement:
There have been several bills introduced by the congress to enact the major enforcement provisions within the United States and its borders from the past twenty years.
- Despite the efforts made towards the increase of immigration enforcement, the illegal immigration is steadily increasing resulting in more fraud documentations, smuggling, drugs and other violations.
- The large unauthorized alien population is raising concerns among the politicians and the residents as they are becoming a great threat to national safety and security.
- After the terrorist attack in 2001, the Homeland security is mainly concentrating on the enforcement of immigration laws that are related to anti terrorism and activities related to national security.
Overview on the Enforcement of Immigration laws:
Congress through various amendments to the Immigration and nationality Act (INA) has redefined the US immigration laws which authorizes more powers to state and local law enforcement officials in maintaining both the criminal and civil enforcement procedures within the country.
- Even though there are many controversies on the immigration enforcement, it mainly focuses on the regulation of the individuals violating the provisions of immigration laws which include the civil violations such as lack of legal status or detaining the fraud aliens etc and criminal provisions such as alien smuggling and trafficking or marriage fraud etc.
- The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of DHS is pursuing better enforcement activities than the previous Immigration and Naturalization service (INS) and has doubled its potential to prosecute, adjudicate or remove illegal aliens from the United States both at the borders and interior.
- According to the reports released by US census bureau, the number of illegal immigrants deported in 2000 has increased from 116, 782 to nearly 400,000 in the year 2011 which simultaneously increased the annual budget of federal government towards the execution of immigration enforcement policies.
- Due to the massive increase in the efforts of congress to fix and enforce the broken immigration policies, the 2011 fiscal year budget shows an enormous expenditure of $11.1 billion dollars for Border Patrol and $5.8 billion towards immigration and custom enforcement.
- Since the undocumented immigrants comprise almost 5% of the entire US labor force and 60% of them had been living for more than five years, their deportation from the country is practically not possible as it would crash the entire US economy.