For the purposes of these entry, we’re just talking about the cost of collecting all illegal immigrants and transporting them out. We’re not going to consider the added expenses of tightening security to ensure they don’t gain re-entry. Even without doing so, the estimates of the cost for this process are extremely high. As Newsweek reported in August 2015, even the lowest figure for hunting down, detaining, and removing over eleven million people was $114 billion, and the American Action Forum estimated that it would be a twenty year process to remove all these people. Thinkbynumbers.org tells us that’s more than ten thousand dollars per person, and slightly less than twice what the American government spends on traditional social welfare programs a year.
But when you get into the higher end estimates, and into the wider economic impact of a project like this, then you get into truly staggering numbers. Those costs range to as high as $400 to $600 billion. To put that in perspective, American military involvement in Afghanistan after 2001, with contractors charging exorbitant fees, cost about $685 billion according to Time magazine. The Washington Post said that was a major contributor to the debt economy that led to America’s major recent recession. In short, the process would mean years of economic disruption, even in a best case scenario.