According to Department of Homeland Security data, American taxpayers are paying approximately $319 per day to keep illegal alien mothers and children together, who had been caught crossing the border illegally. A Department of Health and Human Services official recently told NBC News that housing unaccompanied minors in tent cities, some of which are on military bases, cost $775 per person per night.
On average, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a stay in detention runs to 44 days per person. An the number of persons apprehended and kept in federal facilities is increasing due to the Trump administration’s stricter enforcement of immigration laws.
For fiscal 2018, DHS predicts there will be an average of 51,379 people held in immigration detention centers each da. This represents a significant increase when compared to recent years, when the average stayed in the 30,000s.
The rise in the cost of border enforcement can be seen in the increase of federal grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained illegal unaccompanied and separated children. The price tag went from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million in 2017, according to an Associated Press report. Costs are expected to rise: the federal government is requesting bids for additional services that will top $500 million.
The above figures do not, however, include increased costs for equipment and manpower, for instance, on the part of immigration enforcement agencies and bureaucracies. In reference to the increased costs, President Donald Trump recently said, “Illegal immigration costs our country hundreds of billions of dollars.” He added, “Imagine if we could spend that money to help bring opportunity to our inner cities and our rural communities and our roads and our highways and our schools.” According to an analysis authored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, American taxpayers are billed more than $115 billion annually. Detention costs are thus just a fraction.