was given to the new department: those functions were combined with the previously separate customs enforcement and border protection functions in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service. At the same time, investigative, detention, and other policing functions were placed in a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit in DHS. DOJ retained responsibility for civil and criminal proceedings regarding the legal status of people apprehended and possibly subject to removal from the United States.

Five major DOJ components are responsible for enforcement activities:

1.   The immigration judges who conduct civil proceedings and a separate appeals process are under the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

2.   Funding and financial oversight of pretrial detentions is the responsibility of the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT).

3.   The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) provides transportation, housing, and court security for criminal proceedings involving illegal entrants; housing and transportation costs are reimbursed through annual agreements with OFDT.

4.   The U.S. attorneys, as part of their broader responsibilities, may prosecute illegal immigration cases in their districts through the federal courts.

5.   The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) houses those convicted of immigration offenses.

For fiscal 2011, the committee estimates that combined obligations for the immigration enforcement responsibilities of these five components totaled more than $2 billion.2 (A more detailed description of the roles and relationships among these five major DOJ components of the federal immigration enforcement system is provided in Chapter 4.)

Because of the scale of immigration activities and the need to respond to varied local conditions, operational units (e.g., individual U.S. attorney’s offices and Border Patrol offices) are given substantial autonomy to set priorities, develop strategies, and coordinate with other units and other actors in their local jurisdiction. Both the character of illegal immigration and enforcement priorities have changed frequently and often with little warning. Budgeting for such a system is challenging. And in Congress, responsibility for funding is divided among three appropriations subcommittees in both the House and the Senate.


2This estimate is derived from documentation and personal communication from DOJ’s Justice Management Division; see Chapter 5 for detail.

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