What Would It Cost to Deport Illegal Aliens?

Article by Mac Johnson, Human Events Online, August 1, 2005

Imagine that you came home tomorrow and found a stranger living in your home. Would you pay $148 to have him removed, or would you instead just legally adopt him and give him the run of the place to save the $148? The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C., thinks the “practical” thing to do would be adopt the “undocumented family member” that broke into your home.

At least, that is what I can extrapolate from the report they released last week purporting to document the true cost of deporting –rather than amnestying-- the 10 million illegal aliens that have smuggled themselves into our homeland over the past two decades. According to the study, which was dutifully reported by the Washington Post and others, it would cost the Federal Government $41 billion per year over the next five years to take the “draconian” step of actually enforcing our immigration laws.

...The Federal Government has an annual budget of $2.34 trillion per year. Our Gross Domestic Product is a staggering $12 trillion per year. $41 billion would be just 1.7% of the Federal budget, and a miniscule 0.34% of our GDP.

Yet the Center for American Progress would have us believe that this sum is so far beyond us that we should instead surrender our country to whomever shows up in whatever numbers, rather than pay it. To put it in perspective, 0.34% would be $148 for someone earning $43,527 per year, the median family income in America. Unless you have really bad taste, this is probably what you paid for the locksets in your home.

And immigration enforcement serves the exact same purpose as those locks: allowing us to choose who comes into our home to live with us, and who is kept out. Immigration is a long American tradition, and it can be a benefit to our society and our economy, but not if it is unregulated. Many of us had ancestors that passed through Ellis Island. This was not just a rest stop on the way to the next exit. Ellis Island was an immigrant screening center. America has always retained the right to screen entrants, separate the bad from the good, and deport those deemed harmful. Uncontrolled immigration is ludicrous. A nation without the most basic power of all -- the power to defend its own border -- invites lawlessness and disaster, especially after September 11th....

But now consider that the methods the Center for American Progress used to calculate the $41 billion figure are a little odd. For example, they estimate that it will cost a whopping $17,603 per apprehension to find one illegal alien. This may seem a little high to anyone who has ever been to Home Depot....

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal aliens cost the Federal Government a net $10 billion per year in services (including $2.5 billion stolen from Medicaid alone). After including this savings, we are now down to $31 billion cost per year to deport. At the state level, the Federation for American Immigration Reform reports that California alone spent a net $9 billion in a single year in services stolen by illegal aliens. Subtract this, and we are now down to a piddly $22 billion in cost per year to deport. 70% of illegal aliens live outside California, however, so assuming other states are defrauded at the same rate, this means they are losing, in total, $21 billion per year in services to illegal aliens. Subtracting this, we are now down to just $1 billion per year to deport.

Now consider that every illegal worker earns money, owns property and has savings. This is evidenced by the fact that Illegal immigrants remit over $1 billion dollars per month to their home countries via wire transfers from America. Since this is all contraband earned by illegal means, it should be subject to confiscation.

Assuming that every illegal worker has a modest car, personal property and savings of merely $5,000 total (a very conservative assumption given the wire transfer figure), this means that the 10 million criminal aliens in this country have $50 billion worth of assets subject to seizure. If taken over the five year period covered by the report from the fine folks at the Center for American Progress, this would mean that deporting illegal aliens would earn the United States a profit of $9 billion per year. And that’s enough to fund Medicare for almost two whole weeks—for those worried about Medicare funding.

Read the complete article.