Everybody Loses with Deportation
ICE Undermines Cities' and States' Mission
ICE's aim is to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants. Under President Obama's administration, ICE was instructed to arrest unauthorized immigrants only if they are a threat to public safety. In a February, 2017 memo, Matthew Albence, the head of the Immigration and Customs unit in charge of deportations informed his 5,700 deportation officers that, “effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties.”1 ICE aims to deport unauthorized immigrants as quickly as possible, but often keeps immigrants who want to challenge their deportation in prison for many months or even years2 as they wait to appear before an immigration judge.
ICE's goals and policy are dramatically opposite to the mission of Minnesota, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park. Minnesota has been funding scholarships for early childhood learning programs for children in low income families, and education programs to help high school and college students gain the skills needed for a good paying job without incurring too much debt. Brooklyn Park's mission is reflected on its logo: "Brooklyn Park, a thriving community inspiring pride where opportunities exist for all." Though not many unauthorized immigrants are currently being deported in Brooklyn Park, that could change if the U.S. Senate and House were to pass appropriations for increasing the number of ICE officers and ICE were to choose increasing its presence in Minnesota. Deportations could also increase if Deferred Enforced Departure visas are not renewed in March or Congress does not pass legislation covering DACA recipients since people on these programs would no longer be authorized to live in the U.S. Since they are listed as participating in these programs, they can be more easily identified and deported.
1. "ICE Officers Told to Take Action Against All Undocumented Immigrants Encountered While on Duty." By Marcelo Rochabrun, July 7, 2017, Pro Publica.
2. "Detained Immigrants Aren’t Awaiting Deportation. They’re Awaiting Justice." By Ahilan T. Arulanantham, ACLU of Southern California. Justice not Jails, November 6, 2016.
Rounding up, detaining, and expelling 11 million people would require a massive increase in the immigration-enforcement budget. The chart below shows how this expense has increased over time, $23 billion by 2017 and that's just the beginning. Federal officials estimate the cost of deporting one person to be $12,500.1 For 11 million deportees, that would mean a cost of $137.5 billion. It is unlikely that ICE would get around to deporting all of the unauthorized immigrants. Some would leave on their own to go back to their country of origin or to a country they expect would treat them better. Some would not be found.
Note also that the total of 11 million unauthorized immigrants does not include the DACA students and the DED residents who might soon be unauthorized whose stay has just been extended to March 31, 2019. It also does not include the tens of thousands of residents who have green cards and are deported because they have committed a crime in the past, a crime which can be as small as possessing a small amount of a drug or stealling something from a store that occurred ten years previously.
Paying the costs of deporting immigrants is just the beginning of the costs state and federal income and property tax payers need to cover. As will be seen in the next sections, these costs include supportive services for families; quality early childhood education and mentail health workers and social workers to help with students trauma; and mental health and supporative services for adults who have suffered brain injuries caused by the trauma and stress of having parents deported earlier in their lives.
This chart covers only the cost of deportation.
1. CNSnews.com "Feds Estimate Deportation Costs $12,500 Per Person." By Staff, January 27, 2011.
When Parents are Deported
Taxpayers Pay to Take Care of their Children
William Stock, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, noted that previously unauthorized residents who had children were usually given permission to stay in the U.S. because if parents were deported, then the taxpayers would have to pay the cost of taking care of their children. "Keeping Families Together,"1 a recent analysis by University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, or CSII, and the Center for American Progress, shows that about 16.7 million people in the U.S. have at least one unauthorized family member living with them in the same household. A high percent —nearly 8.2 million—are citizens or naturalized citizens, 72 percent of them children. The Migration Policy Institute and the Urban Institute estimate thatfamily income after a father’s deportation drops by 73 percent.2
The dumping of wheat, corn, and soy beans (selling below the price of production through government subsidies) drove small farmers in Mexico and other South American countries out of business because their crops could not be sold for the price it costs to produce them. As a result of NAFTA, millions of Mexicans joined the ranks of the hungry. Laura Carlsen, Director of the Americas Program for the Center for International Policy in Mexico City reported in 2011 that "Malnutrition is highest among the country’s farm families, who used to produce enough food to feed the nation."3 Former Mexican farmers then crossed the border to the U.S. in search of a way to earn money to send back to their families so they could put food on the table and buy necessities. 60% of people in Mexico live in poverty. That's why many unauthorized immigrants send half of the money they earn to their families in Mexico (NAFTA 101 presented by Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, August 16, 2017).
Should we be blaming the immigrant who crossed the border when NAFTA made it impossible for him to earn a living in his own country to keep food on the table for his family?
Parents and Children Are Separated
When undocumented immigrants are deported, children usually suffer the greatest loss as a parent or both parents who took care of them and guided them are missing in their lives. Children born after their parents migrated are U.S. citizens and usually stay here. Their parents often don't have a way to earn a living in Mexico and think their children will have better opportunities here. Thus parents are often separated from their children who are the center of their lives. Walter Ewing from the American Immigration Council writes, "Deporting the roughly 11 million undocumented men, women, and children who now live in the United States - three-fifths of whom have been here for more than a decade - would be a horrendously cruel and inhumane act. The destruction of lives, families, and communities would be immense."4
1. Mathema, Silva. “Keeping Families Together: Why All Americans Should Care About What Happens to Unauthorized Immigrants.” Center for American Progress, March 16, 2017.
2. Capps, Randy; Koball, Heather; Bachmeier, James D., Soto, Ariel G. Ruiz; Zong, Jie; and Gelatt, Julia. “Deferred Action for Unauthorized Immigrant Parents: Analysis of DAPA’s Potential Effects on Families and Children.” Migration Policy Institute, February, 2016.
3. Carlson, Laura. “Nafta Is Starving Mexico. Mexico: Free trade has starved Mexico and stuffed transnational corporations.” Foreign Policy in Focus, October 20, 2011. http://fpif.org/nafta_is_starving_mexico/
4. Ewing, Walter. "Here's How Much Mass Deportation Would Cost." American Immigration Council, March 20, 2015. http://immigrationimpact.com/2015/03/20/mass-deportation-would-be-a-costly-blunder/