U.S. spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement

The U.S. government spent more money on immigration surveillance and enforcement in fiscal year 2012 than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined.

According to a report released today by the Migration Policy Institute, the $$18 billion spending was earmarked for the two main government agencies involved in immigration enforcement - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the US-VISIT program, which fingerprints and photographs international travelers at U.S. ports of entry.

In comparison, the government spent a total of $14.4 billion in FY 2012 for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service (U.S. Marshalls) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - (ATF).

The report also noted that since 1990, more than 4 million undocumented immigrants have been deported, with a significant increase in recent years.

According to figures provided by ICE in December, the government deported a record 409,849 undocumented immigrants. The previous year it deported 391,953.