How Trump's immigration plans hurt American citizens' pocketbooks
© Getty

As U.S. citizens why should we care about the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos? Guadalupe was the focus of a highly publicized deportation that took place in Phoenix a little over a week ago.

Many have heard the humanitarian reasons why someone like Guadalupe should remain: Coming to the U.S. as a minor; living in the U.S. for 21 years; two U.S. citizen children; and her crime was that she wanted to work and make a better life for herself and her family.

ADVERTISEMENT

Several have asked me, “Why didn’t she fix her immigration status?”

 

Realize that most undocumented immigrants cannot simply fix their status and most face a 10-year-bar if they leave the U.S. to try and get lawful permission to re-enter. It’s a disincentive to leave the country. Our immigration laws make no sense.

The U.S. electorate needs to awaken to the fact that Guadalupe’s deportation, and potentially millions like her, will be a huge drain on our economy.  

President Trump has made it clear that he wants to deport individuals who have “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”  That would include anyone in the U.S. who entered without authorization or non-violent criminal offenses that actually do not harm others.

From an economic perspective consider the following: The roads, rail system, highways, bridges, water mains and other infrastructure in the U.S. are in a state of disrepair.  We are struggling to achieve success in education, especially in the STEM fields.  

Approximately 40 percent of all undocumented workers are employed in agriculture, construction, and leisure and hospitality. Studies have concluded that mass deportation would significantly hit the U.S. gross domestic product. One such study from Cato Institute in 2012 found that a mass deportation policy would reduce economic growth by around $250 billion per year.

Instead of investing in our infrastructure, or spending more on educating our youth and investing in more job training for U.S. citizens, Trump has made it priority number one to spend on deportations.

More than $20 billion for a border wall, hiring many more border patrol and ICE agents, and reducing legal immigration channels. This will result in potentially millions going underground seeking sanctuary, children not attending school, skilled workers unable to legally enter the U.S. and incentivizing businesses to leave or set up offshore.  

Who will this impact? You, the consumer. You are going to pay for the wall, for the costs of incarceration, for the costs of prosecuting deportation cases and for the defense of inevitable lawsuits against the federal government.

Over the past decade we have already witnessed the devastating economic impact that immigrant crackdown policies have on cities and states.

Take, for example, 2011 when Georgia passed an immigrant enforcement law, the agricultural industry was hit hardest with many crops rotting due to lack of workers. These restrictive policies make our country less secure as we will witness diminished communication between the immigrant population and law enforcement.

The majority of U.S. citizens are concerned about economic security.  What is going to happen if 11 million people are deported? If you deport everyone, you need to be able to replace them to work, consume and provide that economic security.

There is no plan for replacement of these workers or consumers in Trump's executive orders. The damage that the U.S. will face may take decades to recover from, if we ever do. Trump loves to categorize on the basis of winners and losers. Here is a prediction on the winners and losers from his deportation-only policy:

Winners: The private prison industry, wall construction contractors and maybe some newly-hired ICE and border patrol agents.

Losers: The rest of us.

Maurice “Mo” Goldman is an immigration attorney based in Arizona and chair of The American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) Media Advocacy Committee.


The views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.