There is one thing that Republicans never mention as they clamor for mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants: the American people would never stand for it — the cost would be huge.
Last summer as the surge of Central American children entering the country overwhelmed the Border Patrol and ICE, the president requested $3.7 billion for more Border Patrol agents, immigration judges and detention facilities. Congress balked and refused to act, yet this amount is a mere pittance in comparison to the cost of rounding up and deporting an estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants now in the country.
In 2010, the Center for American Progress looked at the costs associated with deportation and calculated that costs would run to $200 billion over a five-year period. That figure was based on the estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants in the country at that time, and there were about 11.5 million by 2012 which would raise that cost to about $216 billion. After adjusting for inflation, the 2012 cost would rise to $239 billion.
CAP included an allowance in their calculations for the estimated 20 percent who would self-deport in the face of such a crack-down. If those numbers proved wrong, the cost would be even greater.
Another cost not considered in the calculations was the cost of continued enforcement to prevent a new wave of undocumented immigration once those already here had been deported.
The entire annual budget for Homeland Security is only about $60 billion. Medicaid, which the Republicans feel costs too much, cost the federal government about $265 billion in 2013.
There are other costs associated with mass deportations as well. Many undocumented workers pay taxes as well as spending money which contributes to the economy. A Cato Institute study in 2012 estimated that mass deportation would cut economic growth by about $250 billion per year and found that while those with less than a high school education may earn more the overall impact on the economy would be negative.
Of course there is nothing to prevent congress from enacting their preference for immigration reform. The House in particular has nothing to stop them. They do not have the specter of a filibuster to prevent them from acting, yet they do nothing. Could it be that they are aware that the American people will not stand still for the costs of a policy of mass deportation?
h/t: New Republic