Homeland Security: Challenges to Implementing the Immigration Interior Enforcement Strategy

GAO-03-660T Published: Apr 10, 2003. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 2003.
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Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Immigration Interior Enforcement Strategy's implementation is now the responsibility of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE). This strategy was originally created by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). In the 1990s, INS developed a strategy to control illegal immigration across the U.S. border and a strategy to address enforcement priorities within the country's interior. In 1994, INS's Border Patrol issued a strategy to deter illegal entry. The strategy called for "prevention through deterrence"; that is, to raise the risk of being apprehended for illegal aliens to a point where they would consider it futile to try to enter. The plan called for targeting resources in a phased approach, starting first with the areas of greatest illegal activity. In 1999, the INS issued its interior enforcement strategy designed to deter illegal immigration, prevent immigration-related crimes, and remove those illegally in the United States. Historically, Congress and INS have devoted over five times more resources in terms of staff and budget on border enforcement than on interior enforcement.

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