South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott responded openly to a question about illegal immigration on Thursday about how to handle the crisis. Scott said that illegal immigrants should be deported and that sanctuary cities should be eliminated. CNN reporter Eva McKend posted to X that deporting more than 10 million people is “not feasible.”
At Scott Brown's New Hampshire BBQ, Sen. Scott is asked what should be done about undocumented immigrants living in America.
"Deport them," he answers. "Eliminate sanctuary cities," he adds. Crowd applauds.
This is of course is not feasible as you can't deport 10 million+ ppl
— Eva McKend (@evamckend) September 7, 2023
Predictably, McKend found herself on the receiving end of reality following the post. Numerous users pointed out the real costs of maintaining the open borders policy that the Biden administration has perpetuated and how shifting those costs would free up funding to fulfill the immigration laws of the United States.
Since 2018 when the numbers of illegal immigrants began to surge, the effects have been felt by nearly every state in the nation. Costs for additional policing, education, healthcare, and public services have skyrocketed, even in areas that are not so-called sanctuary cities. The crush of immigrants illegally entering the U.S. has negatively impacted virtually every facet of American life and the costs associated with the crisis threaten to break our economy.
In recent weeks, New York City Mayor Eric Adams renewed calls on the Biden administration to address the immigrant crisis that is strangling the city. Adams, a Democrat, claims that costs associated with handling 100,000 immigrants that have come to the city in the last few years will cost taxpayers $12 billion or more over the next two years. Meanwhile, New York City is suspending overtime pay to police and firefighters in order to fund housing and caring for the immigrants choking the life out of the self-proclaimed sanctuary city.
The spectacular cost of illegal immigration is impossible to fully gather. Most studies that examine the impacts on communities dealing with surging immigration are unable to separate legal immigrants, who tend to be well-educated and financially stable, from illegal immigrants that tend toward the bottom of the economic ladder. Studies looking at education outcomes, for example, often point to “white flight” as the cause of poor test scores rather than the trying task of educating a classroom full of children who do not speak the same language and come from varied cultures.
The burden that illegal immigration causes on social fabric is even more difficult to discern, but impossible to ignore. Massive increases in fentanyl overdose deaths and human trafficking cases can directly be linked to illegal immigration. After experiencing a rise during the late 1990s and early 2000s, synthetic opioid deaths from drugs like fentanyl began to decline. By 2019, the numbers had started to climb. Today, synthetic opioid overdose deaths are far and away the leading cause of overdose deaths.
Fentanyl is primarily sourced from China and Mexico, often smuggled into the U.S. as precursor or pre-precursor agents that can then be made into fentanyl. The largely unsecured southern border sees the highest rates of fentanyl smuggling. Since Operation Lone Star began in Texas, the state has seized more than 422 million lethal doses of the drug. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency believes that the seizures represent no more than 10% of all of the fentanyl smuggled into the country.
Illegal immigration has resulted in rising crimes, notably violent crimes. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol noted significant increases in crime in 2021 that include a 1,900% rise in homicide arrests of illegal immigrants, a 400% increase in domestic violence arrests, a 347% increase in DUI arrests, and a 453% increase in drug possession and distribution charges over 2020 numbers. These numbers have been trending upward since 2016.
The cost to deport an illegal immigrant ranges from around $1,500 up to about $11,000 depending on circumstances. There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. and that number is rapidly climbing. CBP does not publish “gotaways,” the term for illegal immigrants who evade officers. It is estimated that around 5 million illegal immigrants entered the country in fiscal year 2022, more than the individual populations of 25 states and more than the population of any American city except New York.
The total cost of allowing an open border policy is not easily discernible, but it is clear that the current administration’s policies are not effective and are forcing cities and states to shoulder an undue burden in the cost of handling the crisis. The long-term impacts are even less clear and could result in hundreds of billions in expenses and lost income opportunities for residents of the country over the next several decades.