Enforcing criminal laws is always a matter of relative success and failure. Small increases or decreases in violent crime, drug trafficking, or white collar offenses are often seen, rightfully, as major accomplishments or setbacks. For some reason, however, immigration enforcement rarely gets treated the same way.

We often hear politicians say the United States “needs to enforce the law” or “secure the borders.” The fact of the matter is that our country has embarked on an unprecedented effort to enforce immigration laws and to secure the borders over the past five years. This effort crosses administrations and came when Congress was controlled by both parties.

To try to provide some context to the immense improvements in our immigration enforcement efforts, I issued a paper on June 28 outlining some of the most important enforcement enhancements. I released this paper under the auspices of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning think tank that supports comprehensive immigration enforcement.

Obviously more needs to be done, including a mandatory employment enforcement system that requires federal legislation. However, the coverage of Southern border issues over the past several months might lead casual observers to believe that nothing has been accomplished since immigration was hotly debated in Congress during 2005, 2006 and 2007. The facts say otherwise.

The report was issued as part of a broader panel discussion at CAP.