Immigration prosecutions under President Obama are at the same levels they were under the Bush administration. Both ICE and CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) have been prosecuting thousands of immigration violations, so I cannot understand why Governor Rick Perry of Texas, like so many conservatives (politicians, pundits, whoever), is so hell-bent on criticizing the Obama administration for not enforcing our country's immigration laws. All these prosecutions are clogging up court systems throughout the country, but most notably in the southwest; in fact, more than half of ALL federal prosecutions are immigration-related; nearly 95% of the cases public defenders in Texas are dealing with concern civil immigration violations (as opposed to criminal cases), with them handling up to 180 cases every day. This obviously incapacitates the public defender from mounting any sort of substantial defense for his clients, which completely undermines the mission of the office.
What bothers me most of all is that the conservative rhetoric surrounding immigration doesn't seem to be at all concerned with facts or statistics so much as emotional appeals, especially to people in immigrant-heavy areas. Senator John Cornyn blasted Obama's record on prosecuting immigrants, while he actually oversaw more than 21,000 MORE removals in his first year in office for criminal activity than in 2008. Cornyn however complains about the drop in non-criminal removals, which of course fires up the right and gets his voting base agitated against Obama and the Democrats. But frankly non-criminal aliens should be of far less concern to the government than criminal ones, but as I said, conservative discourse tends to ignore important and relevant figures to blow partially-relevant issues way out of proportion. When you have people like Lou Dobbs, now Glenn Beck and other fauxnews blowhards spouting off about how our borders aren't secure and immigrants are stealing all our jobs in the face of evidence that shows this administration is even more harsh on immigration than its predecesor, and in light of the fact that the number of immigrants dropped by its largest margin in the past 3 decades over the past year, the discussion tends to move away from the rational to the irrationality you see in today's media (here is the LA times article that mentions the drop in immigrants, along with some other very interesting numbers regarding immigration and its prosecution). By ramping up the anti-immigrant rhetoric, conservative pundits have been able to practically paint immigrants as an alien occuping force that needs some sort of militaristic response, and we wind up with absurd, overtly-racist laws like Arizona's SB1070, which was passed despite the fact that Arizona ranked first and second, respectively, in ICE and CBP prosecutions (meanwhile all the discussion from conservatives in favor of the bill was about how the Obama administration doesn't prosecute enough immigration violators in their state).
All we have done by increasing the amount of immigrants we lock up and prosecute is increase the amount of money spent on ineffective programs. We spend billions every year to incarcerate and prosecute people for civil violations, spending literally hundreds of dollars per prisoner per day to keep them locked up. Our country needs to realize that the immigration detention system we currently have is designed for nothing more than to enhance the wealth and power of the private prison industry giants, many of whom are supported, directly or indirectly, by our government, both democrat and republican alike. And with all the money that CCA, GEO, and every other private prison contractor spends to ensure it will continue to get new contracts, despite repeated abuses of human rights, its no wonder they are able to continue to fleece American taxpayers into allowing them to exploit our broken system for their own financial gain.