The Insane Numbers Behind Trump’s Stance on Illegal Immigrants


One of the famous campaign promises of President-elect Donald Trump is his plan to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the United States and to deport the country’s current 11 million illegal immigrants.

Trump drew the attention of both fans and critics when he promised to build “a big, beautiful, powerful wall,” along the U.S. border with Mexico. He also proposed a number of other enforcement measures, including apprehending and deporting millions of people.

In an interview aired Sunday night on CBS‘s 60 Minutes, Trump laid out his plan to build the proposed wall, suggesting he would deport several million undocumented immigrants immediately.

“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump told 60 Minutes. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”

While Trump’s dedication on his plans is out of question, putting them into action has raised concerns because it would involve steps beyond the scope of current U.S. Immigration laws and budget. Experts say that Trump’s proposal could costs billions of dollars to implement and would require hiring thousands of new enforcement agents. Critics even likened it to creating a new police state.


The Cost of Mass Deportation

In comparison with Trump’s plan to build a wall, his mass deportation proposal is more costly and tedious.

According to a government estimate, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division has the capacity to remove roughly 400,000 people a year. Currently, about 5,000 enforcers are devoted to apprehending undocumented immigrants. So, deporting more than 11 million people in the two-year time frame that Trump has promised would require more than 90,000 enforcers—about three times the size of New York City’s police force.

Aside from the additional enforcement officers, the American Action Forum also looked at other aspects of Trump’s plan. The group estimated it would take around 32,000 new immigration attorneys to process cases plus hundreds of thousands of extra detention beds, 17,000 chartered airplane flights, and 30,000 chartered bus trips each year. The total cost would be $100 billion to $300 billion, the group estimates.


The Cost of Building a Wall

Trump himself has suggested that the cost of building a wall in the US-Mexican borders would be around $10 billion—a cost that Mexico should contribute to, according to him. However, Mexican officials and even Trump’s own allies have questioned whether Mexico would ever be compelled to give its share.

The cost of the wall would likely be around $25 billion—no matter who pays. The price tag includes $10 billion for concrete panels, $5 billion to $6 billion for steel columns, and the rest for engineering and management costs, among other items.

That seems like a lot of money by most standards, but in the context of the federal budget it’s actually a relatively modest sum. By way of comparison, Boston’s Big Dig tunnel project, completed a decade ago, cost about $15 billion. Also, Trump promised during the campaign that he would spend more than $500 billion in total on infrastructure—a pledge that’s already had an impact on interest rates.

Overall, Trump’s proposal on building a wall and mass deportation is already drawing concerns from many economists and political analysts even before its implementation. The president-elect may have to think his immigration plans over before taking seats next year.

Elizabeth Olivares – Social Media Assistant

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