The Costs of Deportation

Almost every economics course begins with an introduction to the concept of opportunity cost. Put simply, an opportunity cost is an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. How many of us, though, actually calculate the opportunity costs of actions we see being taken every day? Recently I began to delve deeper into this question and started analyzing the opportunity costs associated with basically everything I saw around me. In particular I began to look into the costs of deportation, and just how much our economy is impacted by it.

I first looked into the economic benefits of deportation. After all, these illegal immigrants seem to be taking away jobs from US citizens who deserve them. Deporting them, therefore, seems to be a simple solution to help Americans retain their jobs. Deportation also seems to decrease the unemployment rate at first glance. However, upon further analysis, I quickly realized that the negative economic consequences of deportation far outweighed the benefits.

Undocumented workers comprise a large portion of the workforce; approximately 8 million undocumented workers make up 5 percent of the U.S. labor force. Without these workers overall production will decrease, leading to a drop in GDP. Many firms may be forced to shut down as they lose their undocumented, but valuable workers. As the firms close, many US citizens may lose their jobs as well. So, unemployment of US citizens actually seems to increase as deportations increase, and this damages the economy as a whole. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office states that an overhaul of the immigration system including legalization would boost GDP by $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

Furthermore, undocumented immigrants here in the U.S. also make up a significant share of the consumer base here in the. Hispanic and Asian immigrant consumers spend $1.9 trillion annually, comprising about 16% of the overall purchases in the country. Many of these customers are in fact illegal residents in the US. Deporting them will certainly reduce aggregate domestic demand and overall economic output.

So, why do these deportations continue? Should someone not have realized by now that deportation ends up hurting our economy far more than it helps? Well obviously not, since a congressional requirement requires immigration officers to detain 30,000 immigrants daily for potential deportation.

A simple analysis of deportations shows us that the opportunity cost of deportation is too great. Congress should pass legislative reforms and the detainment quota should be lifted, since it may lead to disastrous consequences for our recovering economy.



  1. Preston, Julia. “Amid Steady Deportation, Fear and Worry Multiply Among Immigrants”. New York Times. 12/22/13.
  2. Calvillo, Jorge. “Thousands of Latino Children Write Letters to the US Congress to Stop Deportations and Approve the Immigration Reform”. Latinos Post. 2/13/14.
  3. Pobjecky, A. Renee. “Deportation of All Illegal Immigrants Would Hurt U.S. Economy”. The Ledger. 1/16/14
  4. “Strength in Diversity: The Economic and Political Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians”. Immigration Policy Center. 1/19/2013

24 thoughts on “The Costs of Deportation”

  1. Undocumented immigration is a critical issue moving forward, and rather than focusing on rhetoric, it is key to understanding the reality of the situation. Mr. Uddin paints the pictures perfectly: we have become so intertwined that simply removing all illegal immigrants is not feasible. I commend his work.

    1. Finally, something other than everybody is a racist rant.
      US war criminals. Starting with that evil white man, George Washington i presume and all of his successors.

  2. Uddin’s claims bring up an irrefutable truth: illegal immigrants are not a problem but in actuality a fiscal boon for the United States. Some individuals assert that unlawful workers symbolize an assault on our notion of sovereignty. On the off chance that this is genuine, then it may be the first run through in world history that a nation has utilized its intruders. At the point when illicit foreigners cross the outskirt, there’s a native holding up to contract them and profit in some way from their work. The sooner our nation understands that movement change ought to be based upon the perspectives of economists and neutral scholarly analysts, instead of research organizations and radio show has, then Congress will at long last have the capacity to help understand this national difficulty.

    1. To add on to the claims made by Jesse, the total monetary effect of illicit movement is easy to refute, yet any claim that they have demolished the nation does not connect to the perspectives of any prominent economist. While a little rate of local conceived Americans may be hurt by movement, limitlessly more Americans profit from the commitments that outsiders make to our economy, including lower purchaser costs.

    1. I myself am also an immigrant and this article really showed me that there is a value in my life that no Government official can identify me by, but instead by my own self worth.

  3. Mr. Uddin brings up a surprising yet insightful point. There is no doubt that many Americans still rely on social schema to make judgement about today’s issues, thus making it easier for them to fall into agreement with the quota Congress has passed. This article cuts to the chase and calls it as it is, we’re wasting time and resources with deportation. This begs the almost obvious question: what exactly is Congress aiming for here?

    Great read.

  4. That there is a set goal of how many deportations must be handled daily is absurd. It hits home in regards to the issue of Stop and Frisk in NYC, where officers were forced to stop a set number of “suspicious” persons. The USA created this illegal immigration problem in the first place back in the 90’s when cheap GMO corn and soy crops from the US prevented competition of growers in other countries and hit South America and Mexico hard. Loss of jobs in their home countries by the millions sent them looking for whatever menial labor was available. We brought this problem onto ourselves; perhaps a follow up article on possible long term solutions. Great work Mirza Uddin.

    1. What a detailed and descriptive comment. Kudos to you Stephan for being so eloquent and using such a meaningful diction.

  5. Those are some pretty shitty sources. How about citing some better references to back up your opinion and actually state some facts. News Articles are not well used sources to document facts.

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