Deportation is one of the most horrifying things a person can go through. The process involves removal from your family and community, detainment for nearly a month or longer, and being sent to another country you might not even recognize. You are suddenly forced to start again without any money or support from the home you once knew.

The emotional cost of ending DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, would be extensive. Lives will be ruined. The economic cost of deportation of DACA recipients is even greater, and farther reaching than many Americans realize.

DACA is a program started by President Obama in 2012 to allow undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children to “defer” a decision on their immigration status. DACA recipients are not applying for citizenship, but merely to continue their education or employment in the U.S., in two-year increments.

In August of 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made moves to phase out and end the program, throwing those who needed to apply for an extension into a panic. In early March of this year, DACA renewals ended because of failure of Congress and the Trump administration to act.

There are approximately 800,000 undocumented DACA recipients in the U.S. today. Should these people be deported, an estimated $280 billion to $430 billion would be missing from the total U.S. economy over the next decade. The typical DACA recipient is working harder and earning more comparatively, resulting in a larger loss to economy and industry. This would ultimately result in a loss of 60 billion dollars of revenue for the IRS.

Additionally, it costs an average of $4,800 to detain an individual, and additional $180 per day to hold them in detention, for an average of 30 days. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, ICE, spends an average of $10,000 per person. To mass-detain and mass-deport hundreds of thousands of young people, leaving students without teachers and small businesses without employees, would cost a total of eight billion dollars. Not to mention the human cost of ripping families apart and destroying lives for no positive reason.

In total, our own economy would lose on the high end $430 billion dollars, with a loss of $60 billion dollars in taxable income, and deportation costs of around $8 billion dollars.

DACA recipients are not dangerous. They are educated, motivated contributors to our economy. Americans are losing out on the investment we have put into these students if they are deported.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has recently touted Florida as the state spending the most-ever per student, roughly $7,000 per student per school year. If a child was brought to the U.S. at the age of four, and attended kindergarten through twelfth grade in Florida, we have spent $84,000 for that child’s education. Multiply that by 800,000 DACA recipients, and we may be handing other countries our most motivated young people after investing $67 billion dollars in them.

We know the cost of deportation economically and socially. It is up to us to determine if the cost is worth it, and if our leaders in Washington will do anything about it.


Ask Henry Lim
Do you have a question for Henry Lim? During 19 years of practicing law, he has helped more than 10,000 families move to the United States. You can Ask Henry a question at [email protected] or submit a video question by sending a link to one of our channels.  For legal assistance, email or call for an appointment: 407-897-8870. Our first consultation is complimentary.