Donald Trump

Donald Trump's Immigration Plan Would Cost $200 Billion. Still Like It, Maniacs?

Nativist, Orwellian, cruel... but not conservative

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Donald Trump
Todd Kranin

As I noted earlier, Donald Trump's immigration plan—which calls for the mass deportation of illegal immigrants, among other things—was a hit with certain anti-immigrant conservatives, Ann Coulter especially. I would challenge Trump's supporters on the right to explain how his immigration proposal could possibly be deemed conservative, given that it would probably cost U.S. taxpayers $200 billion, according to NBC:

Back in 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deputy director Kumar Kibble said it costs $12,500 to deport an individual undocumented immigrant.

So when you multiply that cost for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., that comes to $137.5 billion.

Another estimate from the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress—from back in 2010 — put the overall price tag at $200 billion. That estimate included the cost to arrest, detain, process and transport the undocumented population over a five-year period.

(The Center for American Progress tells NBC News that it has since updated its estimate, lowering it to about $114 billion.)

That's actually a low estimate, explains Rare's Kevin Boyd:

Just for perspective, the United States government spends $25 billion a year on federal law enforcement. The Department of Homeland Security spends $20 billion a year on current immigration enforcement.

If anything, the costs are an underestimate. Trump's plan also calls for the deportation of the children of illegal immigrants, even if they are U.S. citizens. It would hire at least 10,000 new federal workers whose salaries and benefits have to paid for by taxpayers.

The plan also doesn't take into account the humanitarian costs of uprooting people who, in many cases, have been in the country for decades. Nor does it account for the costs of deporting people who were brought here as children, the so-called Dreamers, and have no memory of their home countries.

In addition to the humanitarian considerations and direct economic costs, there are the indirect economic costs. Cost-efficient immigrant labor keeps the price of goods down, so ejecting immigrants en masse would make everything more expensive—hurting consumers and crippling small businesses that don't have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the bottom line.

Trump's plan could be called many things—nativist, Orwellian, and cruel come to mind—but conservative, it is not.

Read Nick Gillespie's thorough takedown of the Trump plan here.