The federal government spent $18 billion last year on immigration enforcement, more than the combined spending of the rest of the federal government's law enforcement agencies over the same period.
The $18 billion immigration price tag is larger than spending on the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives combined, according to the new report from the Migration Policy Institute think tank.
Spending on immigration enforcement, which includes everything from screening visitors to the United States to deportations, has increased 15-fold since 1986, when President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law that legalized 3 million immigrants and for the first time required employers to verify their employees' immigration status. Though the law attempted to stop illegal immigration from the southern border, the waves of migration continued, peaking in 2000 at 1.7 million border apprehensions. Since 2005, the number of Border Patrol agents has doubled, and deportations have increased.
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