How Much Will It Cost For The Largest Deportation Operation In American History

According to the findings of a Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) analysis, the cost of the largest deportation operation in American history could easily exceed $1 trillion over 10 years.

How Much Will It Cost For The Largest Deportation Operation In American History 1

This year, the Republican party appears committed to a plan for the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, having secured the endorsement of a well-known Republican U.S. senator who had previously criticized Donald Trump for his tough immigration policies. The GOP not only supports the harsh policy but also links itself to the enormous cost that comes with driving millions of people out of the nation.

Turnaround on Immigration

“If reelected, Donald Trump has said he’s willing to build migrant detention camps and deploy the U.S. military to deport the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country,” Kristen Welker asked of Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) on NBC News’s Meet the Press. “It would be the largest deportation operation in American history. Do you support that plan?”

“Yes, we are going to have to do something,” responded Rubio after arguing that the number of undocumented migrants is much higher. “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to do something dramatic to remove people from this country that are here illegally, especially people we know nothing about.”

Being the son of immigrants from Cuba, Rubio had previously opposed Trump’s plan to restrict immigration and terminate birthright citizenship. His recent change of heart is consistent with his party’s harsh stance on the matter. But if Trump is planning “the largest deportation operation in American history” (as Welker reported), then we can presume that any big-government initiative will have corresponding expenses. That’s precisely what mathematicians forecast.

A Big Price Tag

MarketWatch’s Chris Matthews reported this week on the findings of a Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) analysis, which stated that “the costs of the former president’s plan to deport the more than 14 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. today could easily reach more than $1 trillion over 10 years, before taking into account the labor costs necessary for such a project or the unforeseen consequences of reducing the labor supply by such drastic amounts over a short period of time.”

Though the former and maybe future president has suggested deploying both the military and local law enforcement to expel migrants in this nation illegally, his proposal is still in the early stages of development. According to Matthews’ analysis of PWBM’s findings, “the removal of one million immigrants would cost the federal government between $40 billion and $50 billion over 10 years, and up to $100 billion if those immigrants were higher-paid workers,” if such policy were implemented.

According to Matthews, proponents of strict immigration enforcement, such as Steven Camarota, the head of studies at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), expect that up to a million people will be deported annually. Considering that deportations under former President Barack Obama reached at an average of 383,307 every year, that is quite a reach. An even greater goal would result in costs that might approach a trillion dollars in less than ten years.

It should be mentioned that PWBM’s estimate is higher than certain other sites that nevertheless list a startling cost for deportation. The anti-restrictive immigration policy Center for American Progress estimated in 2015 that “a mass deportation strategy would cost an average of $10,070 per person, for a total of $114 billion to remove 11.3 million people.” After accounting for inflation using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that comes to almost $153 billion in 2024 dollars.

With a harsh stance on immigration, CIS estimated the “cost of deportation of $124.1 billion” for 11.43 million undocumented migrants based on 2016 data, using a marginally higher cost per immigrant. That’s currently almost $164 billion after accounting for inflation.

According to a 2015 prediction by the free-market American Action Forum (AAF), the federal government would “need to spend $100 billion to $300 billion arresting and removing all undocumented immigrants residing in the country.” That now amounts to $134 billion to $402 billion. However, the AAF cautioned that more border enforcement would come to $315 billion ($422 billion in 2024) to stop the continued influx of unlawful migrants.

CIS compares the cost of deporting millions of people to a “total lifetime fiscal drain of $746.3 billion” for the undocumented immigrant population, which it says balances the cost of deporting millions of individuals. However, as MarketWatch notes, the majority of experts don’t think that undocumented immigrants are a net drain on the economy; rather, they think that they generally boost it.

The Economy Also Takes a Hit

“Under current law, unauthorized workers…generally do not qualify for federal benefits,” PWBM economists point in a separate analysis. They add that “more deportations, though, leads to less economic growth.” As a result, according to PWBM, with the implementation of restrictive policies, “GDP in 2050 will be four percent lower relative to no additional deportations.”

As anticipated by AAF, “the labor force would shrink by 6.4 percent and, as a result, in 20 years the U.S. GDP would be almost 6 percent lower than it would be without fully enforcing current law.”

With a mass deportation campaign, the Center for Migrant Studies warned in 2017 that “gross domestic product (GDP) would be reduced by 1.4 percent in the first year, and cumulative GDP would be reduced by $4.7 trillion over 10 years.”

Of course, there are several estimated expenses associated with changing policies to deport undocumented immigrants in large numbers. That’s because it hasn’t been implemented to the extent that Trump and his backers have envisioned. Rubio may be right, but if the actual number of persons breaking the law in the country is “upwards of 20, 25, maybe 30 million,” then deportations will need to be even more forceful and more expensive.

Americans May Regret the Cost of Immigration Enforcement

Nevertheless, according to Gallup, Americans have continuously ranked immigration as their #1 concern, surpassing all other topics for three consecutive months as of April. According to polls, Trump is ahead on the matter both nationally and in important swing states.

“Trump’s policies are described as putting the interests of current U.S. citizens ahead of the interests of recent immigrants, whereas many Arizonans say Mr. Biden’s policies don’t,” according to CBS News/YouGov.

However, the expenses related to the matter also belong to Trump and the company if they wish to claim ownership of it. Up to a trillion dollars in additional costs could be difficult to justify at a time when the federal government is deeply in debt.

Last year, GreatGameIndia reported that during a rally in Reno, Nevada, while attacking Joe Biden’s immigration policies, Trump vowed to undertake the largest deportation in American history if elected.

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  1. It wouldn’t cost a penny!
    Drive them like cattle to the Mexican border,
    force them to the other side of the border

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