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What Could We Do with $285 Billion?

Mass Deportation Is a Senseless Strategy

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Report: Calculating the Costs of Mass Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants

Video: Immigration Reform by the Numbers

Does mass deportation sounds like a good idea? Well, before you answer, consider this: A new study from the Center for American Progress shows that getting the 10.8 million undocumented immigrants out of the country and maintaining strict immigration enforcement over five years would cost $285 billion. That includes $200 billion to find, detain, legally process, and transport undocumented immigrants out of the county and another $85 billion to enforce the law for five years. Don’t you think there might be better things we could do with that money?

Of course there are. We could …

Cover the fiscal year 2011 budgets for the Departments of Treasury, Labor, Justice, Homeland Security, Energy, Education, Commerce, and Agriculture—and still have money left over.

Hire more than 1 million new high school teachers and pay their salaries for five years.

Build 19,520 new elementary schools.

Build 19,520 new elementary schools.

Pay for four years of tuition at a public college for over 10 million Americans.

Repay the costs of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan during 2009 two times over.

Buy a brand new Apple laptop for over 90 percent of the 309 million people in the United States.

Buy a brand new Apple laptop for over 90 percent of the 309 million people in the United States.

Increase NASA's budget by 15 times its 2010 amount.

Increase NASA’s budget by 15 times its 2010 amount.

Fund medical research at the National Institutes of Health for more than nine years.

Pay 6.7 million Americans’ salaries for a year.

Still can’t get your head around this number? Well, think about this:

If you stacked up 285 billion one-dollar bills, it would reach more than 100 million feet in the air—that’s like stacking 81,700 Empire State Buildings on top of each other.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s money we could use. Especially considering that the alternative—comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants—would result in a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. Now think about what we could do with that kind of money!

Report: Calculating the Costs of Mass Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants

Video: Immigration Reform by the Numbers

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org