The Department is focused on smart and effective enforcement of U.S. immigration laws while streamlining and facilitating the legal immigration process.
The Department has fundamentally reformed immigration enforcement, prioritizing the identification and removal of criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety and targeting employers who knowingly and repeatedly break the law.
Smart and Effective Enforcement
- In fiscal year 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens, with more than 392,000 removals nationwide.
- Half of those removed—more than 195,000—were convicted criminals.
- These statistics represent increases of more than 23,000 removals overall and 81,000 criminal removals compared to fiscal year 2008
- This is an increase in removal of criminal aliens of more than 70 percent from the previous administration.
- The Department expanded the Secure Communities initiative from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to nearly 1000 today, including all jurisdictions along the Southwest border. Secure Communities uses biometric information and services to identify and remove criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails.
- The Department has improved and expanded the E-Verify system, adding new features to monitor for fraud and redesigning the system to ensure compliance and ease of use. The Department also announced the 'I E-Verify' initiative to let consumers know which businesses are working to maintain legal workforces by using E-Verify.
- Employer enrollment in E-Verify has more than doubled since January 2009, with more than 243,000 participating companies representing more than 834,000 hiring sites.
- More than 16 million queries were processed in E-Verify in fiscal year 2010, allowing businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement continued major reforms of the immigration detention system—prioritizing health, safety and uniformity among detention facilities while ensuring security, efficiency and fiscal responsibility. Reform include efforts to:
- centralize contracts under ICE headquarters supervision;
- develop an assessment tool to identify aliens suitable for alternatives to detention;
- house non-criminal non-violent populations at facilities commensurate with risk;
- expanding legal support services programs;
- devise and implementing a medical classification system to enhance detainee medical care;
- launch a public, Internet-based detainee locator tool to assist attorneys, family members, and other relevant parties in locating detained individuals in ICE custody; and
- more than double the number of federal personnel providing onsite oversight at the facilities where the majority of detainees are housed to ensure accountability and reduce reliance on contractors.
Facilitate Legal Immigration
- The Department formalized a longstanding policy to expedite and streamline the citizenship process for men and women serving in America's armed forces. This rule:
- Reduces the time requirements for naturalization through military service from three years to one year for applicants who served during peacetime.
- Extends benefits to members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) redesigned the Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as the Green Card, and the Certificate of Naturalization to incorporate new security features to prevent counterfeiting and tampering, and facilitate quick and accurate authentication.
- USCIS launched new online services, including:
- a new website – in both English and Spanish – with user-friendly features that increase transparency, including allowing individuals with cases in the immigration system to track their status in real time by e-mail and text message.
- The Citizenship Resource Center on USCIS.gov, a free one-stop resource that provides students, teachers, and organizations with citizenship preparation educational resources and information.
- The Web-based Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE), to enhance and streamline the agency’s adjudications of certain employment-based immigration petitions by using commercially available data to validate basic information about organizations petitioning to employ alien workers.
- Secretary Napolitano, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Jason Kenney signed an agreement to enhance bilateral consultations and information sharing about visa, admissibility, and screening policies.
Combat Human Smuggling and Trafficking
- The Department launched the Blue Campaign to Combat Human Trafficking—a Department-wide initiative to combat human trafficking through enhanced public outreach, victim assistance, and law enforcement training and initiatives. The Blue Campaign includes new, computer-based training for state and local law enforcement officers; enhanced victim assistance materials for distribution at ports of entry; and a new Department website, www.dhs.gov/humantrafficking, a one-stop shop for anti-human trafficking resources for human trafficking victims, law enforcement officers, concerned citizens, NGOs, and the private sector.
- ICE conducted Operation In Plain Sight, the largest investigation of its kind targeting companies transporting undocumented aliens throughout the state of Arizona and beyond. The investigation resulted in the criminal arrests of 62 subjects for alien smuggling and associated crimes. In all, ICE initiated more than 2,200 human smuggling investigations in fiscal year 2010, resulting in
- more than 2,500 arrests
- 1,400 indictments
- 1,500 convictions, and
- $15 million in asset seizures.