The Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued its annual report on immigration enforcement efforts. The report on 2011 efforts covers enforcement actions against hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals. Foreign nationals may be removed from the United States for a variety of reasons including criminal activity and immigration violations.
The main DHS agencies responsible for immigration enforcement are Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which deals with enforcement in or between ports of entry, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is responsible for interior enforcement.
Key findings of the OIS report include the following:
During 2011, CBP identified 212,000 foreign nationals who were inadmissible to enter the United States.
A total of 642,000 foreign nationals were apprehended by DHS in 2011. Of these, 76 percent were natives of Mexico.
ICE reached an all-time high in apprehending foreign nationals in 2011, with a total of 429,000.
A total of 329,000 foreign nationals were sent back to their home countries by DHS without a removal order.
A total of 392,000 foreign nationals were returned to their home countries by DHS. For those removed, the leading country of origin was Mexico, followed by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Thirty-three percent, or 130,000, of all removal orders were accounted for by reinstatements of final orders.
Thirty-one percent, or 123,000, of all removals were accounted for by expedited removals.
ICE reached an all-time high for removal of known criminal aliens, having removed 188,000 in 2011.
There are three dispositions that are the most common for undocumented immigrants found within the United States: returns, expedited removals and reinstatements of final orders.
In the case of returns, a foreign national who may be inadmissible is offered the opportunity to return to his or her home country, while avoiding formal removal proceedings. This often occurs with non-criminal undocumented immigrants who are apprehended at the border. The undocumented person in such a case admits to an illegal entry and waives the right to a hearing.
In the case of expedited removal, DHS officials may order such proceedings if an undocumented immigrant is inadmissible due to lack of documentation or misrepresentation. These immigrants do not generally appear before a judge, but do have the opportunity to seek asylum or claim legal status.
Finally, for undocumented immigrants previously removed from the United States, DHS may reinstate a final removal order, without any hearing or further review of the case.
Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit Rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.