By Emily Canal
February 23, 2016
When it comes to immigration, it now looks like Sen. Ted Cruz is on the same page as GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
Cruz (R-Texas) said Monday that if he is elected president, he would deport millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. But experts say that move would cost the American government $114 billion, and that the economic toll of uprooting and expelling that many people could be far greater.
Cruz’s comments in an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Monday represent a dramatic shift from what he’s said previously in his campaign for president. As recently as January, Cruz told CNN that he would not “send jackboots” to round up every undocumented immigrant.
Cruz also said he would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, triple the border patrol and implement biometric entry systems to keep track of foreigners. Aspects of that plan resemble measures proposed last year by GOP front runner Donald Trump, which have been dismissed as prohibitively expensive.
In 2014, the Pew Research Center said there were 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. It would cost an average of $10,070 per person to physically remove every undocumented alien from the U.S., according to an August 2015 report by the Center for American Progress.
Philip E. Wolgin, the author of the report, wrote that it would cost the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice a total of $114 billion to deport the undocumented people already living in the U.S. This includes finding individuals, detaining them while they wait for removal, processing them through immigration courts and transporting them abroad.
“It’s not just the economic costs and craziness it would be to round up 11.3 million people, but the real effect it would have on U.S.-born children and citizens of relatives,” Wolgin, the managing director of immigration for the Center of American Progress, told FORBES. “And that’s a really major factor that we can’t disregard.”
As daunting a figure as $114 billion may be, the economic impact of losing 11.3 million people would be far greater. The American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute, said that removing all undocumented immigrants would deplete the U.S. labor force by 6.4% and shrink the U.S. economy by $1.6 trillion over 20 years.
Creating a pathway to citizenship, on the other hand, would create 145,000 new jobs annually, and increase the cumulative income of all Americans by $625 billion over 10 years, according to CAP .
The additional measures Cruz said he’d take on immigration would only add to the cost. A wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as imagined by GOP front runner Donald Trump, for example, would cost $8 billion, the candidate has told CNN. Tripling the amount of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers would cost $8.4 billion, according to Politico.
In 2013 the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan research institution, said the first-year cost for implementing a biometric screening system would range from $400 million to $600 million. But that same year, a $7 billion computerized biometric screening program was proposed as part of a $46 billion border security bill put before Congress. At the time, DHS officials were critical of the technology, arguing that it would do little to halt unauthorized immigration, according to The L.A. Times.
The Cruz campaign did not return request for comment on how the measures would be paid for.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com