Fiscally Irresponsible: Immigration Enforcement without Reform Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

October 19, 2011

Washington D.C. - Many political pundits, presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the need for fiscal austerity, and a Congressional “super-committee” is currently working on slashing federal spending in order to reduce the deficit. On the other hand, even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just announced a record high number of deportations, some still want to increase federal spending on immigration enforcement; putting more Border Patrol boots on the ground, completing the border fence, and deploying an array of high-tech gadgetry. However, they miss one very important fact: piling on more immigration enforcement without immigration reform is a practical and fiscal dead-end.

Over the past decade, the federal government has spent tens of billions of dollars trying to keep unauthorized immigrants out of the United States, or trying to get them out of the country if they are already here. The end result? Roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants now call the United States home, the majority have been here for more than 10 years, and many have U.S.-born children. In short, the “enforcement only” approach to unauthorized immigration has proven to be costly and ineffective. But many political candidates and Members of Congress have yet to get the news that the enforcement-only approach has been tried and failed.

To learn more about the impracticality of enforcement without reform, view our Fact Check:

Fiscally Irresponsible: Immigration Enforcement without Reform Wastes Taxpayer Dollars (IPC Fact Check, October 2011)

Also see today's blog post on the recent release of DHS's fiscal year 2011 deportation numbers:

Redefining Criminality: Untangling DHS’s Record High Deportation Numbers (, October 19, 2011)

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