Keeping Undocumented Immigrants Costs More Than Deportation

The Claim:

An August 2017 report from CIS’s Steven Camarota announced that the cost of deporting all undocumented immigrants would be $124.1 billion, while the fiscal drain over their lifetime to the U.S. would be $746.3 billion. This report relies heavily on a 2016 study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The Problem:

These estimates are wrong or ignore key details

First, researchers have much higher estimates for the cost of deportation, putting the costs at between $400-600 million, because Camarota doesn’t consider long-term enforcement. Second, Camarota is only comparing costs here, which is a highly dishonest approach to assessing the fiscal impact undocumented immigrants have on the U.S. economy. According to a 2016 study by the Center for American Progress, “a policy of mass deportation would immediately reduce the nation’s GDP by 1.4 percent, and ultimately by 2.6 percent, and reduce cumulative GDP over 10 years by $4.7 trillion.” Suddenly, Camarota’s “fiscal drain” number is put in new light.