Why Trump Can’t Deport Millions of Immigrants

Why Trump Can’t Deport Millions of Immigrants January 2, 2017

Donald Trump has backed off his campaign pledge to deport 11 million people and now says he’ll just deport 2-3 million undocumented immigrants. But those who’ve run our immigration agencies know that this is an impossible task to pull off.


“It’s impossible, period,” said John Sandweg, who was acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2013 and 2014…

Trump would need tens of billions of dollars in new spending approved by Congress. He’d also need years to hire and train new legions of enforcement agents, and to deploy hundreds of judges to relieve the nation’s severely backlogged immigration courts. And to find even 2 million undocumented immigrants to deport, he’d have to change how he defines criminal acts worthy of removal — or start rounding up people without convictions. Added together, the obstacles could be insurmountable.

“This is not just, ‘Oh, we can just plus-up officers’ and everything else magically happens,” Sandweg said.

The first problem is the expense. At an average cost of $12,213 for each deportation, according to ICE, 2 million deportations would add up to more than $24.4 billion over four years. That includes all ICE costs necessary to identify, arrest, detain, process and remove those immigrants. It doesn’t include personnel salaries.

That’s more than the entire current budget for ICE and Customs and Border Protection (which deals with border security), which amounted to $19.4 billion in 2016.

You can almost hear Trump’s answer: ‘That’s only true because we’ve hired stupid people who made bad deals. I’ll put wonderful people in place who’ve read my book and know how to make a better deal.’ It’s all part of his rock and roll fantasy.

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