August 28, 2015
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Laura Collins
Donald Trump’s immigration policy proposal features tough rhetoric and a “plan” to finance a border fence. Putting aside the promise to make Mexico pay — a decidedly unrealistic proposition — a close examination of Trump’s proposal reveals two things: it is incredibly expensive; and it will not help American workers.
At its core, the proposal is an enforcement-only approach to immigration reform. A significant portion of the proposal is dedicated to increasing border security and interior enforcement — finishing the fence along the southwest border; tripling the number of U.S. Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents; nationwide employment verification; and mandatory detention of illegal border crossers. Trump also proposes tighter restrictions on the H-1B highly skilled worker visa program and a temporary suspension of legal immigration, neither of which is part of a pro-growth immigration reform.
The American Action Forum analyzed the costs of fully enforcing current immigration law and found that it would cost $400-600 billion to deport all the undocumented immigrants in the country and prevent all future unlawful immigration, a process that would take 20 years at current ICE staffing levels. It is likely that Trump’s exact plan would cost even more than our estimate, which did not account for expenditures like the thousands of additional detention beds that would be needed and the significant increase in the number of ICE agents.
Read the full article at Opportunity Lives: The True Cost of Trump’s Immigration Plan