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Immigration numbers reveal increase in enforcement

Immigrants to Lancaster know just how serious a deportation order can be -- it can mean years away from family and friends. While many within the immigration field may believe that immigration reforms are coming, the amount of money that is currently spent on immigration enforcement is overwhelming. In 2012 alone, the U.S. spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement, more than it spent on all other law enforcement combined. Twenty-four percent more.

Not only is the United States paying a lot of money to keep some immigrants out, but it is also deporting a lot of immigrants, as well. In 2011, there were approximately 400,000 deportations, a tremendous increase from the 30,000 in 1990. Some researchers are quick to point out, however, that the number of illegal immigrants is also growing, but it is unknown if that is the only cause for the increase in deportations.

What does it say about the federal government's approach to immigration when it spends more money on keeping immigrants out and regulating those that are in the United States than it does on the FBI or the Drug Enforcement Agency? It clearly sends the message that entering the country without the legal permission to do so is a very serious crime. As we have discussed before, however, some people are brought to the United States as children and have had no control over their immigration status. This was one of the reasons for President Obama's recent directive that delays or cancels the removal of undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.

Immigration can be a very confusing and misleading process, but the consequences for getting something wrong can be severe. Imagine making one minor mistake and being told that you can't see your family for the next 10 years. This is a very real situation facing many immigrants in Lancaster County, which is why it is so important to consult an immigration attorney about any questions that could have such a long-lasting effect.

Source: The Washington Post, "Report: Immigration leads federal law enforcement spending," Tara Bahrampour, Jan. 7, 2013

Learn more about removal hearings and deportation by visiting our Lancaster deportation defense website.

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