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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Law and Justice
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Committee on Estimating Costs to the Department of Justice of Increased Border Security Enforcement by the Department of Homeland Security 


Project Scope

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study to develop methods to estimate increased budget costs for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) resulting from changes in immigration enforcement undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The past few years have seen a marked increase in DHS resources, both funding and staff, commensurate with the increased DHS workload relating to illegal immigration. In order to accurately estimate the necessary DOJ resource requirements to apprehend and adjudicate illegal aliens resulting from increased DHS activity, a methodology that develops defensible linkages between DHS activities and DOJ costs is required. 


The committee will undertake the following tasks: 

  • Describe the kinds of data that are needed to support a method to estimate increased budget costs and identify the sources, completeness, reliability, and accessibility of such data at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Develop a baseline of information on the budgetary costs and other costs of current enforcement efforts for DHS and DOJ in selected jurisdictions. This may also include an estimate of costs to state and local governments.
  • Develop an approach or a model to predict future DOJ costs at different levels of prosecution and incarceration, under varied assumptions about the manner of implementation and the affected population implemented in different places.
  • Assess the predictive capacity and limitations of such estimation approach or model.Draw conclusions and make recommendations about the need for new or modified data collection programs and research to support immigration enforcement policy development and budgeting. 

U.S. Department of Justice


Committee Membership
PETER REUTER (Chair), School of Public Policy and Department of Criminology, University of Maryland
FRANK D. BEAN, Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy University of California, Irvine
JONATHAN CAULKINS, Heinz College and Qatar Campus, Carnegie Mellon University
SUSAN E. CLARKE, Department of Political Science, University of Colorado
WAYNE A. CORNELIUS, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego
VICTORIA A. GREENFIELD, Department of Economics, United States Naval Academy
JOHN R. HIPP, Department or Criminology, Law & Society, University of California, Irvine
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY, Office of Population Research, Princeton University
DORIS MEISSNER, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute
C. RICHARD NEU, The RAND Corporation, Mexico City, Mexico
PIA ORRENIUS, Department of Research, Federal Reserve Bank, Dallas
ROBERTO OSEGUEDA, Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, University of Texas, El Paso
JEFFREY S. PASSEL, Pew Research Center, Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D.C.
MARC R. ROSENBLUM, Domestic and Social Policy, Congressional Research Service, U.S. Congress
PETER H. SCHUCK, Yale Law School, Yale University


STEVE REDBURN, Study Director
MALAY MAJMUNDAR, Senior Program Associate
DANIELLE JOHNSON-BLAND, Senior Program Assistant

Budgeting for Immigration Enforcement: A Path to Better Performance (2011)

 Border Security report cover





Immigration enforcement is carried out by a complex legal and administrative system, operating under frequently changing legislative mandates and policy guidance, with authority and funding spread across several agencies in two executive departments and the courts. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for conducting immigration enforcement both at the border and in the United States; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for conducting immigration removal procedures and criminal trials and for prosecuting people charged with immigration-related crimes. DOJ confronts at least five technical challenges to modeling its resource needs for immigration enforcement that are specific to the immigration enforcement system. Despite the inherent limitations, budgeting for immigration enforcement can be improved by changing the method for budgeting.


Budgeting for Immigration Enforcement addresses how to improve budgeting for the federal immigration enforcement system, specifically focusing on the parts of that system that are operated and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The report recommends that DOJ establish policy-level procedures to plan and coordinate policy planning and implementation to improve performance of the immigration enforcement system. The report also recommends that DOJ and DHS accelerate their design of an integrated capacity to track cases and project immigration enforcement activity. Policy makers and others who are interested in how the nation's immigration enforcement system is organized and operates also will find it useful.




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