Immigration Enthusiasts Cringe at Sight of ‘Muscular’ CBP, ICE



The Migration Policy Institute is troubled by what it calls “an ever more muscular immigration enforcement presence in U.S. life.”

The pro-immigration policy shop in Washington, D.C., was dismayed to see officers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) among the federal forces attempting to corral violent street mobs in the District and other U.S. cities last month.

“The presence of immigration officers may be unexpected … but it fits with a broader trend of these agencies gaining extra funding and equipment that allow them to substantially expand their reach and activities,” MPI stated.

Bizarrely, MPI was more disturbed by the sight of law enforcement than by the riotous carnage, which its report did not bother to mention. It also failed to acknowledge that ICE and CBP were utilized to help fellow officers protect life and property, not to chase down illegal aliens.

As FAIR noted recently: “The problem was not the deployment of ICE and CBP assets – because that may be necessary to restore order – but rather the fact that the anarchy and chaos are diverting our immigration enforcement agencies from doing the job they were established to do.”

With 44,000 and 13,300 officers respectively, CBP and ICE are among the fastest-growing federal law enforcement agencies. Of the 22 agencies under the Department of Homeland Security, CBP and ICE received 29 percent of the 2020 DHS budget outlay. Since DHS’s creation in 2002, budgets for these two agencies have nearly tripled, with CBP now at $17.4 billion and ICE at $8.4 billion.

Putting those numbers in context, consider that illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers more than $120 billion every year.

A more legitimate concern is what kind of bang for the buck are taxpayers getting from their “muscular” CBP and ICE? Even as their spending has increased, FAIR estimates that the illegal alien population in this country swelled to a record 14.3 million last year. The numbers have risen as Congress balked at curbing glaring abuses of our political asylum policies, and courts issue get-out-of-jail-free cards to illegal aliens who have minors in tow.

In the last year, the administration has taken steps to address some of these issues, but without congressional action to deter abuses in the future, ICE and CBP will continue to fight an uphill battle.

Clearly, the two immigration enforcement agencies have a daunting and labor-intensive mission. Their jobs are not made easier by hundreds of sanctuary jurisdictions across America, and an open-borders lobby constantly agitating to undermine enforcement, or abolish it altogether.

Instead of begrudging the lawful work and significant challenges faced by CBP and ICE, the ivory tower thinkers at MPI would do better to constructively reflect on solutions such as mandatory nationwide E-Verify employment screening, and completion of a southern border wall. Both aim to protect American jobs and enhance U.S. security.

As an added benefit, MPI’s newfound fiscal conservatives can surely salute such actions aimed at deterring people from attempting to immigrate illegally, as having the potential to constrain CBP-ICE budget demands by proactively containing enforcement costs.

All worthwhile goals, no?

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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