Commentary

New Trump immigration proposal: Inhumane and incredibly costly

The Trump administration keeps cranking out reactionary and cruel immigration policy proposals. As Rebekah Entralgo of Think Progress reported earlier this morning, the latest would also cost a mint. This is from her story “Report: latest Trump administration immigration rule could cost up to $12.9 billion”:

Last month, the Trump administration announced a new rule that would upend a decades-old ban on the indefinite detention of immigrant children.

The Flores Agreement, which has been U.S. immigration law for 20 years and dictates that children should not be held in detention for more than 20 days, would be replaced by a rule proposed by The Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Withdrawing from Flores, according to DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, is necessary to end one of the “primary pull factors for illegal immigration” — an argument which immigration experts say is deeply flawed.

The new rule would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to house families in unsafe detention facilities while their asylum petitions play out in court, which could take months or even years.

In addition to extending the length of time an immigrant child is forced to spend in detention, ending Flores would come with a hefty price tag. According to a new report from the Center For American Progress…the proposed rule would cost at least $2 billion and as much as $12.9 billion over the course of a decade — up to $1.3 billion  per year.

The high cost estimates are a result of the dramatically increased length of time the people would be held under the new rule. The Center for American Progress estimates that the number of immigrants detained by the federal government would also exceed the current 3,326-family-detention-bed capacity if the new rule were put into place, therefore additional family residential centers would have to be built out of necessity.

Construction of a new facility would require one-time start-up costs of “at least $72 million and as much as $520 million at the highest end.” ICE estimates the daily cost of detaining a family, meanwhile, to be more than $300.

The estimate of $12.9 billion over a decade to detain undocumented migrant families does not include additional costs incurred by the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), which runs the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) — the agency tasked with oversight of unaccompanied minors.”

The post concludes by reporting that the number of children held in ORR facilities has spike under Trump because the Trump administration is releasing far fewer children to sponsors.

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