The Arizona Republic explores the economics of deportation: How much would it cost for President Trump to live up to his campaign promise to deport all 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., or, more recently, the 2 million with criminal histories? In his revised budget appropriations for fiscal year 2017, Trump asked Congress for an additional $1.15 billion to detain, transport and remove undocumented immigrants from the U.S. He also asked for $76 million to begin recruiting and hiring some 10,000 ICE agents. So how would that get Trump toward deporting 2 million immigrants? Based on current estimates, the additional funds could get him about 5 percent of the way to his goal.
There’s nothing hard and fast about such estimates. The location, length of detention, country of origin and other factors can significantly add or subtract from the price tag. “This (effort to increase deportations) is a major, major task … and would require a large investment in immigration enforcement,” said Ben Gigis, director of Labor Market Policy at the American Action Forum, a center-right think tank. ICE spent an average of $10,854 per deportee during the fiscal year that ended in September, according to ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe. “This includes all costs necessary to identify, apprehend, detain, process through immigration court, and remove an alien,” she said in an interview.