Immigration Enforcement Spending Since IRCA
This report closely examines the rapid growth of government appropriations directly targeted to immigration enforcement activities since the passage of the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986 (IRCA). Focusing primarily on data between 1985 and 2002, authors highlight trends in the overall immigration enforcement spending as well as in specific activities, including border control, detention and removal, interior enforcement, and apprehensions.
The report finds that spending on immigration enforcement more than quadrupled between 1985 and 2002. During this time, appropriations for border control activities increased by 306 percent, detention and removal/intelligence by 751 percent, and interior investigations by 320 percent. The majority (60 percent) of the spending appear to have been aimed at the border, while about 10 percent were directed toward interior enforcement. Apprehension of immigrants in violation of immigration laws were also concentrated at the border, with 93 percent of apprehensions conducted by Border Patrol agents.
Meanwhile, spending for consular affairs has remained relatively stagnant, increasing by only 8 percent between 1985 and 2002. However, appropriations for consular affairs did increase sharply by 60 percent between 2001 and 2002 following the September 11 attacks.