The Obama administration is changing the government’s strategy in enforcing immigration laws while repealing birthright citizenship would expand the population of illegal immigrants, who, depending on how you look at it, may or may not be a burden on taxpayers.

USA Today published a Pro Publica round-up report that enumerated how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has shifted policies in who the agency targets for deportation, which in turn has reduced the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, the number of removals this year lags slightly behind last year’s figures through 11 months, despite reports that the Obama administration is deporting more illegal immigrants than ever.

Whoever is in the Oval Office in 2050 would have considerably more unauthorized immigrants — at least 5 million — to deport if birthright citizenship is repealed, according to a report by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank.

“The unauthorized population would rise to 24 million in 2050 under a scenario in which citizenship would be denied to U.S.-born children with one unauthorized immigrant parent, even if the other parent were a citizen,” the report states. Illegal immigration is currently at the lowest it’s been in decades.

But would that be a drag on taxpayers, or a benefit? Depends on how you look at it, Edward Schumacher-Matos, a Washington Post columnist, wrote in the Post:

The truth is that unauthorized immigrants are probably a net burden on taxpayers in the short term, but only if you consider education as a cost and not as an investment in the nation’s future, as it was seen a century ago.

So, how does Congress view illegal immigrants who aspire to attend college? We may find out before November, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “intends to move the DREAM Act” before mid-term elections. The proposed legislation, which has been floating around Congress for the better part of a decade, would pave the way toward legal resident status — and possibly citizenship — for young illegal immigrants if they meet certain requirements.

For cities and towns who believe illegal immigrants are a drag on society — and aim to deter them from taking jobs or renting housing in their communities — passing laws with that in mind are not constitutional, a federal appeals court ruled.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which struck down ordinances adopted by the City of Hazelton, Pa. that also served as models for like-minded towns and states around the country, “is the broadest statement by a court to date on the vexing question of how much authority states and towns have to act on immigration matters that are normally the purview of the federal government,” The New York Times reported.

Despite a down economy and deterrents such as the Hazelton ordinances and other enforcement efforts, the push/pull of illegal immigration persists. Immigration agents in Riverside found 37 smuggled aliens from six countries jammed inside a tiny bedroom where some claim they had been held for weeks, according to an ICE press release. Six job recruiters were indicted for forcing 400 laborers from Thailand to work after luring them to the United States in what the FBI called the largest human-trafficking case in U.S. history, The Associated Press reported.

It’s not just allegedly greedy businesses that are breaking the law. The Los Angeles Times and Washington Post both had stories about misconduct and corruption among Border Patrol agents and customs inspectors.

The Border Patrol is “grappling with a spate of misconduct cases in its ranks, which have expanded from 4,000 agents in the early 1990s to 21,000 today,” the Times reported while the number of Customs and Border Protection “corruption investigations opened by the inspector general climbed from 245 in 2006 to more than 770 this year,” according to the Post.

Corruption cases at its sister agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, rose from 66 to more than 220 over the same period. The vast majority of corruption cases involve illegal trafficking of drugs, guns, weapons and cash across the Southwest border.

But, as the Whittier Daily News reported, some agents are allegedly stealing from the government — and taxpayers — too.

Two former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were arrested Friday on charges stemming from allegations they falsely claimed nearly $600,000 worth of work hours.

Andrew Becker is a reporter for Reveal, covering border, national and homeland security issues, as well as weapons and gun trafficking. He has focused on waste, fraud and abuse – with stories ranging from border corruption to the expanding use of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles, from the militarization of police to the intersection of politics and policy related to immigration, from terrorism to drug trafficking. Becker's reporting has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek/The Daily Beast and on National Public Radio and PBS/FRONTLINE, among others. He received a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. Becker is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.