WaPo: Federal agents conduct immigration enforcement raids in at least six states

From the article:

Officials said the raids targeted known criminals, but they also netted some immigrants without criminal records, an apparent departure from similar enforcement waves during the Obama administration. Last month, Trump substantially broadened the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.

Trump has pledged to deport as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. …

If the Administration does undertake removal of 3 million undocumented immigrants (whether there are 3 million undocumented with criminal records is up for debate), there will be substantial fiscal costs. The American Action Forum, headed by CBO’s former head Doug Holtz-Eakin, estimated the 20 year cost of deporting all 11 million at between $419.6 to $619.4 billion. One time cost (so excluding the subsequent 20 year’s of expenditures) would range from $103.9 billion to $303.7 billion.

Assuming linearity, this means the 20 year recurrent costs will be only $114-$169, and one removal time cost of $28-$83 billion. That can be added to the $21.6 billion for the completion of the wall [1].

In the short-run, implementation of mass deportations will inject spending into the economy, stimulating the economy. It’s not quite “military Keynesianism”, but is in economic terms equivalent. The net impact on GDP will depend on the extent of monetary accommodation, the demand for US Treasurys from the private sector and the foreign official sector, and (over the medium term) the economy’s proximity to full employment.

In the long run, assuming linearity, potential GDP will be 1.6% lower than otherwise in twenty years.

Digression: The President has asserted he will negotiate down the price of the wall [2]; my question — why does he care about the price tag if the Mexicans are ultimately going to pay? Is it altruism?

14 thoughts on “WaPo: Federal agents conduct immigration enforcement raids in at least six states

  1. 2slugbaits

    Of course, those undocumented workers will no longer be paying income taxes, sales taxes, Medicare taxes and FICA taxes.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      2slugbaits: I’m sure right after President Trump gets the Mexicans to “pay for the wall”, he’ll get those folks to pay income, FICA taxes even when they’re outside of the US.

  2. PeakTrader

    It makes economic sense to deport the worst illegal immigrants, legalize the remainder, and have stronger border security. We want hard working law abiding immigrants instead of too many immigrants not in the workforce and criminals. We don’t want the expense of deporting millions more illegal immigrants in 20 years, because of weak border enforcement or going through the deportation legal process.

    Of course, GDP would be lower with a smaller population. However, illegal immigrants with low skills, their children, and family members not in the workforce who need and use social services, along with criminals (since crime is expensive), may not add much to GDP. Government is already spending too much on social services and too little on everything else.

  3. Joseph

    PeakTrader: “Government is already spending too much on social services and too little on everything else.”

    “Everything else,” of course, would be military spending and tax cuts for the rich.

  4. Ray LaPan-Love

    I’m just guessing some on this, but the numbers from Doug Holtz-Eakin seem to assume that hearings will be provided for each immigrant as has been the case in the recent past. But I’m not so sure that these hearings are necessary if Sessions decides to deport all illegals. When the FDR administration made its big push to deport illegals in 1935, there were no hearings, and the only reason I can think of is… if there is an effort to only deport those with criminal records. But that does not jibe with Trump’s campaign promises.

    Plus, illegals are already leaving voluntarily, and as enforcement increases so will the voluntary deportations. A fact that seems to be often overlooked is that many families that are here illegally have autos and other possessions which they can take with them if they can avoid detainment. And of course just avoiding the inconvenience of detainment is advantageous in terms of time and money. So, many, if not most, of them will simply leave of their own free will if they feel threatened to a heightened degree.

    Of course the Democrats have said ‘you can’t deport 11 million’ so many times that some seem to have been conditioned to believe that each illegal immigrant must be hunted down, lol. But this sort of thinking is folly, I’ve known lots of undocumented Hispanics and most of them long to return home even without the increased threat of deportation. And nearly all of them are highly mobile in a variety of ways, but not nearly as reliant on their feet as most Americans seem to believe. Most of those who I’ve known arrived here via commercial airliners, with tourist visas, and they shortly thereafter bought a vehicle, or moved in with someone who already had one. And they tend to be surprisingly adaptable, but of course they must be or they would not be here in the first place.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Ray Lapan-Love: No, not every one of the 11 million undocumented has to be “hunted down” (to use your term). However, I do not believe that every one that is not captured will “self-deport” (not my term). By the way, construction of additional border barriers (either at cost to US or to foreigners) will likely reduce the probability of self-deportation, as the option value of remaining in the US consequently rises.

      If you read the AAF report, you will see that some portion of the cost is due to expenses associated with construction of centers for concentrating detainees while they are being processed. I do not believe I have seen a plausible critique of the methods by which AAF obtained there estimates. If you know of one, I would be happy to see it.

      You might be right that we could deport without hearings, thus saving expenditures. I would expect the Trump Administration to try that. Of course, we did many things in the 1930’s-40’s that we might not want to repeat; I think of Executive Order 9066.

      1. Ray LaPan-Love


        I don’t understand why you would think that “border barriers”, whether existing or additional, “will likely reduce the probability of self-deportation,…”; I’m not aware of any restrictions on voluntary deportations. In fact, a few years back I was part of the Hispanic community in San Marcos, TX. and I was very much surprised by how often many of the illegals travelled back and forth across the border. Many of them will take a plane on the way up, work for a few months, and then return in car filled with merchandise. (Notably, clothing is cheaper in the US, and used cars bought at auctions are relatively cheap too, and so whole carloads of clothing is taken to Mexico and sold. Not just by illegals returning home though, on any weekend the outlet mall in San Marcos, or any mall between San Marcos and the border, and especially in San Antonio, the parking lots would be rife with autos with Mexican license plates).

        Anyway, I doubt if anyone can judge just how much transient churn is involved, but most illegals come on tourist visas (all of the hundreds who I have known in the last 10 years or so), and so I don’t know of any reason that they can’t just go home without concern? It may be more difficult for those trying to get back to Central America, but again, I suspect that most Americans would be surprised to know… just how often they simply but a plane ticket. This being true not only for international travel, but many move around the US quite a lot from job to job.

        1. PeakTrader

          Ray LaPan-Love, I recall a friend in California, who’s from Eastern Europe, buying huge batches of Levi pants and selling them in his country for huge profits, until other people started doing it. Levi’s were very popular, but there was little supply. He did all the transactions over the phone and with his relatives back home.

          1. Ray LaPan-Love

            I’ve always assumed that the Mexicans buying clothes in Texas were selling them at outdoor markets. But maybe some of them were also just buying inventory for shops, or maybe like your friend, they had prearranged orders, or all of the above.

            One striking fact here is how far they were willing to travel to get this merchandise. It is a couple of hundred miles just to the border from San Marcos, and their license plates were not all from the state just over the border. But I suppose they were combining business with pleasure some too, San Antonio is a very popular tourist destination for Mexicans.

        2. dilbert dogbert

          As the Economic Parrots would say: “Supply and Demand.” Fewer folks to cut your lawn and fewer leaf blowers and the price of lawn care goes up. The lawns and the leaves don’t leave to cross the border.

          1. Ray LaPan-Love

            Yea, I wonder what those “Economic Parrots” will say if obesity rates drop as more Americans are left to mow their lawns and clean their own houses and pools?

            Way back in the mid ’80s I spent several months in Central America and so I have been involved in the associated issues for a long time. Almost never though, have I witnessed any of those who feign to care about illegal immigrants show any meaningful concern for the rights of workers in Latin America. For example, the NAFTA/CAFTADR treaties have worker’s rights attachments that could be enforced if those provisions were to attract the level of attention that the rights of illegal workers in the US do. But nary a word, and sanctions are imposed on Cuba where efforts have been made to break the cycle of poverty, but in nations where workers are exploited routinely, sanctions are never so much as mentioned.

            So yea, gotta get those lawns mowed and our toilets cleaned somehow, and while doing the illegals a favor, lol.

    2. Lyle

      How many are like the Women from Phoenix who are essentially on parole having recieved a final deportation order and stay because prior rules allowed it? Or perhaps the earlier case where a Woman had a DUI while in the US. In the first case the hearings have already been held. IMHO if you are an illegal and commit a DUI you deserve to be deported because you are a threat to the rest of the community.

  5. 2slugbaits

    Well, the Sixth Amendment doesn’t restrict itself to citizens accused of crimes, it just refers to “the accused.” And if being an undocumented alien is a crime, then implicit in any deportation action is an accusation of having committed a crime. In fact, various conservative news outlets assure us that the Mexican government is setting aside $50M with the intent of jamming the US court system. I’m wondering how long it’s going to be before we find out how many deportations turn out to be against people who are actually American citizens.

    If PeakTrader is truly concerned about criminals on the loose ravaging the country on wild murder sprees, then perhaps he should worry more about older, rural white native born Americans and less about undocumented aliens.

    However, illegal immigrants with low skills, their children, and family members not in the workforce who need and use social services, along with criminals (since crime is expensive), may not add much to GDP.

    I can think of no better way to ensure that families with low skills and poor prospects remain that way than by deporting the family’s primary breadwinner. I can think of no better way to raise future felons than to forcibly separate American born children from one or both of their foreign born parents. Already on the news we’ve seen cases in which ICE workers deported a fathers who had not committed any crimes. And this is supposed to relieve the costs of providing social services??? Only in TrumpMath.

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