NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Immigrants Deported

December 15, 1998

In the two years since Congress passed immigration reform, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has deported more than twice as many immigrants as it did in the prior two years. Violators of immigration law are being deported, along with criminal convicts and would-be immigrants stopped at the Mexican border.

Many of the immigrants who are deported are barred from reentering the U.S. for five years or more. Some are barred for life.

  • In the most recent two years, 300,000 immigrants have been deported to countries all over the world.
  • For the fiscal year ended September 30, 1998, there were 169,072 deportations -- 136,795 of them bound for Mexico.
  • With 15,000 officers authorized to carry weapons and make arrests, the INS is now the largest federal law enforcement agency -- larger than the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, the Customs Service or the Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • The agency's budget for detention and deportation in 1998 was $748 million, a record.

Analysts report that there are several reasons deportations have doubled. The agency's budget has increased dramatically in the past two years and Congress has furnished the agency with a strong mandate. More than 106,000 of those deported in 1998 had criminal convictions.

Additionally, some illegal immigrants are voluntarily returning to their native countries to avoid a formal federal deportation order and a long stay at a detention center.

Source: Mirta Ojito, "Change in Laws Sets Off Big Wave of Deportations," New York Times, December 15, 1998.


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