One of the promises that helped get President-elect Donald Trump into office was the one he made to deport millions of illegal immigrants. Now that he's on his way to the White House, he hasn't given up the idea, and judging from an interview he gave on Sunday, Trump plans to deport up to 3 million immigrants immediately after taking office. After that, he plans to "secure" the country, put up a part-wall, part-fence hybrid along the Mexican border, and then make a "determination" on the illegal immigrants left in the United States, according to CBS.
"What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate," Trump told CBS on Sunday. "But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally."
According to The Washington Post, however, there aren't 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records in the country. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimated in 2013 that there were 1.9 million "removable criminal aliens" in the United States, which is likely where Trump's number comes from. However, according to The Washington Post, the 1.9 million removable immigrants referenced by the ICE are not all in the United States illegally: Some are legal permanent residents or have temporary visas. (Even if immigrants are in the United States legally, however, they can still be deported if convicted of a serious crime.) One think tank, the Migration Policy Institute, estimates that only 820,000 of those 1.9 million are illegal immigrants.
However, during his campaign, Trump took aim at a much larger group of immigrants than 820,000 or 3 million, telling Americans he wanted to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. He has promised to reverse Pres. Obama's executive action protecting up to 5 million immigrants who were brought illegally to the country as children, and he eventually wants to see all illegal immigrants in the country sent away.
Some have predicted that if Trump gets his way, the United States will receive quite the financial blow. According to estimates made by the Center for American Progress, it would cost the government $10,070 to deport a single immigrant. Deporting just 5 million illegal immigrants (those currently protected by Obama's executive action) could cost the United States an estimated $50.3 billion.
A study published in May by the American Action Forum found that Trump's deportation plans could also cause a substantial labor decline and reduce the private sector's output by up to $623.2 billion. Agriculture, construction, leisure, and hospitality industries would all be strained to fill the shortage of workers, and there wouldn't be sufficient unemployed, legal residents to fill the roles. The American economy could shrink by up to $1 trillion.
Even if Trump's later "determination" of other immigrants leaned towards not deporting them, his promise to deport 2 to 3 million immigrants immediately and reverse Obama's executive action don't bode well for undocumented families in the United States.