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Press Release

Press Release

New report on immigration enforcement

Berkeley, CA Feb. 24…UC Berkeley School of Law’s Warren Institute today released a new report that analyzes the complex legal and policy issues surrounding U.S. immigration enforcement. The report, Borders, Jails, and Jobsites: An Overview of Federal Immigration Enforcement Programs in the U.S. explains the intent of federal programs that target noncitizens—and the unintended consequences.

Despite current economic constraints, the federal government continues to escalate funding for enforcement programs. In this year’s budget request, the White House seeks approximately $5.5 billion for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, $55 million more than was allocated last year. But do these programs work—or is the U.S. throwing money away on failed policies?

Report co-authors Aarti Kohli and Deepa Varma describe the primary actors and programs; present specific concerns identified by scholars, advocates and researchers; and offer substantive reform recommendations.

Recommendations for Congress and the administration include:

Border Enforcement

  • Eliminate Operation Streamline and return to pre-existing practices of removing migrants through the civil immigration system.
  • Limit expedited removal to individuals apprehended at ports of entry, as opposed to those stopped within the U. S.
  • Work with Mexican authorities to count border deaths accurately.

Federal Partnerships with Local Police

  • Investigate the implementation and effectiveness of the Criminal Alien Program before allocating additional sums for its expansion.
  • Support additional research on how deportation policies impact transnational gangs.
  • Change Secure Communities regulations so that the program focuses on violent high-level offenders only and no longer sends fingerprints of all arrestees to the Department of Homeland Security.

Workplace Enforcement

  • Examine the impact of current E-verify expansions before making the program mandatory for more employers.
  • Coordinate immigration worksite enforcement activities with the Department of Labor to target employers engaged in labor violations.


  • Develop and implement a model of civil detention, as well as its alternatives, as soon as possible based on best practices from international models; develop corresponding standards for detention conditions.
  • Create a single medical records system for all detainees; develop a method to access complete medical histories of those in custody.
  • Hold detainees as close as possible to the location of the individual’s arrest.

This report on immigration enforcement policies and practices was prepared for the bi-national research initiative, U.S.-Mexico Migration Dialogue, which is coordinated by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Mexico Institute. A presentation of preliminary findings was made at the Wilson Center in November 2010.

For more information or interviews, please contact Aarti Kohli, Director of Immigration Policy at the Warren Institute, at, or 510.642.0383.