An immigration think tank released a report that concludes it is more cost-effective to deport illegal aliens than to keep them in the U.S. The price for American taxpayers is $10,854 per illegal alien removed, compared to their average lifetime net fiscal drain of $65,292.
The estimated 11 million illegal aliens cost American taxpayers at least $746.3 billion for the entire population, according to a report by Center for Immigration Studies’ (CIS) director of research, Dr. Steven A. Camarota. By factoring in the “net present value” concept utilized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS), Camarota estimates the total lifetime cost to taxpayers to be in the $1.4 – $1.5 trillion range.
The U.S. government estimates there are 11.43 million illegal immigrants stateside. Open borders advocates frequently argue that amnesty is the answer because it is too expensive to deport them.
CIS reports “The fiscal cost created by illegal immigrants of $746.3 billion compares to total a cost of deportation of $124.1 billion, assuming an FY 2016 cost per deportation, or $67.6 billion using FY 2012 deportation costs.”
Camarota determined the average lifetime net fiscal drain by looking at the taxes paid by the average illegal immigrant minus the services they use. This figure does not include the costs for their children or descendants. Looking at their descendants “adds $16,998 to the net fiscal drain.”
The net figure was calculated by looking at the fiscal estimates of immigrants by education level from the NAS.
Researchers found that most illegal immigrants “overwhelmingly have modest levels of education – most have not completed high school or have only a high school education.”
The CIS report says it is important to note that:
To create its long-term fiscal estimates, the NAS uses the concept of ‘net present value’ (NPV), which is commonly used by economists. This approach has the effect of reducing the size of the net fiscal drain that unskilled immigrants create because costs or benefits years from now are valued less relative to more immediate costs. If the NPV concept is not used, the actual net lifetime fiscal cost of illegal immigrants is likely $120,000 to $130,000 per illegal alien, or between $1.4 and $1.5 trillion for the entire illegal alien population, excluding descendants.
The self-described low-immigration, pro-immigration group, reports U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) numbers indicate the average deportation cost in FY (fiscal year) 2016 to be $10,854 per illegal alien. The agency released this number in April of this year. ICE calculated the cost of removal by looking at the price tag for removal, including apprehension, detention, and processing. The figure does not include expenditures by federal immigration courts operated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The bottom line is that deporting more of those in the country actually reduces the costs of removal. Looking at figures from removals in 2012, the average cost of removal was cut, at least in that year, to $5,915 (adjusted for inflation) when 170,000 more aliens were removed. “If the average cost of a deportation was what it had been in FY 2012, then the larger enforcement budget in FY 2016 would have allowed for 200,000 more removals without spending additional money.”
Camaron concludes that “because the overwhelming share of illegal immigrants residing in the country have not completed high school or have only a high school education, it would require highly implausible assumptions to avoid a substantial net fiscal drain from this population. In short, illegal immigrants are a large net fiscal drain because of their education levels and this fact drives the results. Deportation, on the other hand, is not that costly relative to the fiscal costs illegal immigrants create.”
“That said, deporting a large share of illegal immigrants can be justified from a fiscal point of view,” he stated.