In a 60 Minutes interview last night, CNN’s Lou Dobbs said that, while he has never explicitly called for the mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants living in the United States, he believes it can be done.
“When this president and open-borders, illegal-alien-amnesty advocates say, ‘You can’t deport them,’ my answer is, ‘You wanna bet?’ Because this is the United States,” Dobbs said.
Host Lesley Stahl followed up, “If you think it’s possible. How’s it possible?” Said Dobbs: “I think this country can do anything it sets its mind to.” Watch it:
To quell the rising clamor of those like Dobbs who suggest mass deportation, the Center for American Progress produced the first-ever estimate of the costs of a policy designed to deport all undocumented persons currently in the United States. The July 2005 study found it would cost at least $206 billion over a five-year period. The report concluded:
The cost assessment presented in this report hopefully illustrates the false allure of adopting a mass deportation policy as a response to the challenges threatening our immigration system. The costs of a massive deportation policy would not only be substantial, but in many ways, financially reckless. Implementing such a policy would seriously jeopardize our commitment to secure the homeland and pay for our commitments overseas, as well as threaten other vital national priorities.
The non-financial costs associated with mass deportation may be even more painful. The AP notes the “hidden side” of the government’s stepped-up efforts to track down and deport illegal immigrants: “When illegal-immigrant parents are swept up in raids on homes and workplaces, the children are sometimes left behind — a complication that underscores the difficulty in enforcing immigration laws against people who have put down roots and begun raising families in the U.S. More than 3.1 million American-born children have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant.
Dobbs appears too willing to muster the national will to waste financial resources and permanently fracture American society.