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Congress, White House Stick Taxpayers with $16.5 Billion Bill for Wasteful Spending on Deportations

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The Obama deportation machine has come under fire recently for ramping up the deportation of immigrants with strong family ties and little or no criminal record. Not only is there a moral imperative to stop separating American immigrant families with these practices, but there’s a fiscal one as well:  the current immigration enforcement regime is an enormous waste of taxpayer money. Ahead of Tax Day tomorrow, we present a few key numbers about the Administration’s misplaced enforcement priorities and the huge missed opportunities for deficit reduction due to Republican inaction on immigration reform:

$16.5 Billion in Taxpayer Money Wasted By Deporting Immigrants Who Would Have Qualified for Immigration Reform: The New York Times recently assessed that “since President Obama took office, two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all.”  At a cost of $12,500 per deportation, this means that $16.5 billion in taxpayer money has already been spent under the Obama Administration deporting immigrants who should not have been deported – many of whom would have qualified for immigration reform legislation currently being blocked by House Republicans.

Immigration Enforcement Spending Greater than Amount of Every Other Federal Law Enforcement Agency Combined: $: A 2013 study released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) examining immigration enforcement spending found that nearly $18 billion federal tax dollars were spent on immigration enforcement in just 2012 alone – an amount greater than the amount spent on every other federal law enforcement agency combined.

House Republicans Blocking Immigration Reform are Also Blocking Hundreds of Billions in Deficit Reduction: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the House immigration bill HR 15 would reduce the deficit by $900 billion over the next two decades, including $200 billion in the first decade alone.  In June 2013, CBO projected that the Senate immigration bill would reduce deficits by $197 billion over 10 years and, in the 10 years after that (2023-2033), the Senate bill would reduce the deficit by an additional $700 billion.  That’s almost $1 trillion in savings over the next 20 years.  So much for the supposed Republican obsessions with fiscal discipline and deficit reduction.

According to Patty Kupfer, Managing Director of America’s Voice:

Why are we wasting billions of dollars in taxpayer money going after good people?  Moms and Dads of U.S. citizen children, those with lives and families in our communities, and others who are American in all but paperwork and would be legalized under pending legislation.  To make matters worse, as House Republicans block reform, we are deporting immigrants who would, under a different Congress, have the chance to come forward, become legal, and fully contribute to our society – and are wasting billions of dollars in additional revenue in the process.