In the 1990s, there was a lower number of audits than today; but the government issued more final orders against employers who engaged in these illegal hiring practices. While the political rhetoric is pervasive, the backbone to deal with the root of the problem is lacking. Locking up individuals misses the mark and puts a Band-Aid on a problem requiring surgery. While throwing on handcuffs helps satisfy the populist base, this policy is nothing more than a show of immediate authority lacking a long-term solution.
As expected, President Donald Trump hit the ground running with his enforcement regime by utilizing raids to round up illegal immigrants. As quickly as February of this year, there were 678 people arrested in 12 states. Only seventy-four percent of those arrested had criminal convictions.
President Trump still intends to build a wall to secure our southern border and control the influx of undocumented immigrants. While controlling our borders is critical, the solution is not to round up all the “bad hombres.” That would be a logistical, legal and financial nightmare. It costs $126.46 per day to house a person in an immigration detention center. Over the course of a typical month-long detention, this comes out to almost $3,800.
That is just for housing the people that we catch. What about the cost of investigation, arrest, court, appeal, etc. The American Action Forum estimated that it would cost American taxpayers between $100 billion and $300 billion to remove all of our undocumented immigrants. The cost gets closer to half a trillion dollars when taking into account the increased enforcement costs to ensure that the deported immigrants cannot re-enter the United States. This is all in addition to the cost of the “wall.”
Instead, we need to spend our resources to combat the source of why so many come to the U.S. illegally.
Government needs to vigorously investigate and prosecute employers who hire illegals. If there are decreased prospects for employment, undocumented immigrants will have less incentive to enter the U.S. without authority.
Manubir “Manny” Arora is an Atlanta defense attorney, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and a former Assistant District Attorney in Fulton County.