The High Cost of Deportation

Most people, including lawmakers from both parties, know the immigration system is broken and that we need real reform. But some right-wingers, including Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and former House Speaker Rep. Newt Gingrich, keep holding on to the fantasy that we if we just conduct a massive police action to arrest, try and deport every undocumented worker in every factory and every farm in America, we can solve our immigration problem in a snap.

Well, the Center for American Progress today released the first-ever cost assessment of a mass deportation policy for the 10 million undocumented persons currently in the country and the 500,000 that successfully cross the border each year. And guess what? It would essentially drain the Treasury. The data analysis estimates the cost to be at least $206 billion over 5 years ($41.2 billion annually), and could be as high as $230 billion. We arrived at this number even after assuming that 2 million of the 10 million would leave on their own — a pretty large assumption.

To put $41 billion in perspective, that would exceed the entire annual budget of the Dept of Homeland Security ($34.2 billion) and more the double the annual cost of the war in Afghanistan ($16.8 billion).

Most reasonable politicians have rejected mass deportation as costly and ineffective measure that would do little to improve our security and could devastate key sectors of our economy. This study puts the nail in the coffin for the “just deport ‘em” crowd.


We need real immigration reform, not rhetoric.

Raj Goyle