cost of a deportation is much smaller than the fiscal drain created by the average illegal


Deportation costs: In April of this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that the average cost of a deportation, also referred to as a removal, was $10,854 in FY 2016, including apprehension, detention, and processing.

Based on the description provided by ICE, the estimated removal costs do not include expenditures for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which is part of the Department of Justice. Though it has a few other responsibilities, the overwhelming share of EOIR’s workload is for removals. In FY 2016, EOIR’s budget was $420.3 million and there were 240,255 removals in that year, which would mean that EOIR’s cost per removal was $1,749.

Costs of illegal immigrants: There is a total lifetime fiscal drain of $746.3 billion. This assumes 11.43 million illegal immigrants are in the country based on the U.S. government’s most recent estimate.

The above cost estimates are only for the original illegal immigrant, and exclude descendants. Using the National Academy of Sciences net cost estimates for the descendants adds $16,998 to the net fiscal drain.

During the second term of the Obama administration, policies prohibiting agents from arresting aliens became increasingly stringent. A recent Government Accountability Office report found that the backlog of pending cases that are carried over from the prior year in immigration court more than doubled between 2006 and 2015.

The Trump administration has curtailed some of these policies. Moreover, the number of arrests by ICE has increased substantially in the first few months of the new administration even though the administration has yet to implement the president’s directive to increase the Enforcement and Removal Operations agent corps.

[ > Center for Immigration Studies  —  August 2017 ]