Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Would It Cost Hundreds of Billions to Deport All Unauthorized Immigrants?

Sep 18, 2015 | Other Spending

One claim regarding illegal immigration from last night’s debate focused on the cost of forcibly removing unauthorized immigrants from the United States. Several of the candidates discussed it, including Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL), who said “But to build a wall, and to deport people — half a million a month — would cost hundreds of billions of dollars.”

During a 2007 Congressional hearing, Julie Myers, the nominee to be the Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, estimated that it would cost roughly $94 billion to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants. Although there are no solid estimates for the additional cost of building a wall, Customs and Border Protection has estimated that a fence alone would cost more than $20 billion to build, let alone maintain – and a wall would likely be much more expensive. Combined with the cost of deportation, total costs may not reach “hundreds of billions,” but would very likely exceed $100 billion.

Ruling: Largely True