ACLU: Country Can No Longer Afford Wasteful, Destructive Immigration Enforcement Policies

February 5, 2013 10:09 am

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WASHINGTON – “Congress must continue to move in the right direction by ensuring that legislative proposals on immigration embrace a generous roadmap to citizenship,” said Joanne Lin, ACLU legislative counsel. “But reforms must also address civil liberties problems that have long plagued the immigration detention and deportation systems, including abusive enforcement practices. With net migration from Mexico at zero, the country doesn’t need and can no longer afford unfettered immigration and border enforcement, which has come at enormous and unnecessary cost to American taxpayers: $219 billion since 1986.”

ACLU’s full statement submitted to the House Judiciary Committee is located here.

Quick Facts on Immigration Enforcement

  • Deportations and detentions are at historic levels
  • Approximately 1.5 million people were deported under President Obama’s 1st term, the highest number in any single presidential term
  • Between 2010-2012, 23 percent of people deported were parents of U.S. citizen children, with many of these children subsequently placed in foster care
  • Southwest border apprehensions are at their lowest level in 40 years
  • $18 billion spent on immigration and border enforcement annually greatly exceeds federal spending on all other federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined (Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, FBI, Secret Service, and Marshals Service)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection refer more cases for federal criminal prosecution than all the Department of Justice criminal law enforcement agencies combined

ACLU and Immigration

As President Obama and Congress take up immigration reform, the ACLU has developed a framework and urges policymakers to promote the priorities contained therein in any proposals. The framework is available here.

Using targeted impact litigation, advocacy and public outreach, ACLU’s work in this area carries on its commitment to protecting the rights and liberties of all people living in the United States. For over 25 years, we have been at the forefront of almost every major legal struggle on behalf of immigrants’ rights, focusing on challenging laws that deny immigrants’ access to the courts, impose indefinite and mandatory detention, and discriminate on the basis of nationality, race or ethnicity.

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

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