Immigration Racism

The Huge Cost of Trump’s Cruel Separation Policy

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Last week, I casually estimated that the federal government may end up spending as much as a billion dollars on Trump's family separation policy and that was apparently more accurate than I knew at the time.

According to NBC News citing government sources, the Trump regime is spending about $775 per child each day at Trump's concentration camps.

WASHINGTON — The cost of holding migrant children who have been separated from their parents in newly created "tent cities" is $775 per person per night, according to an official at the Department of Health and Human Services — far higher than the cost of keeping children with their parents in detention centers or holding them in more permanent buildings.

The reason for the high cost, the official and several former officials told NBC News, is that the sudden urgency to bring in security, air conditioning, medical workers and other government contractors far surpasses the cost for structures that are routinely staffed.

For comparison's sake, Republicans in Congress have spent the last couple months preoccupied with cutting a food stamp program that only distributes about $100 per month to needy families. We don't even spend $775 per day on children who attend public schools. We don't spend that much on Medicaid coverage which costs an average of $10,000 per person per year or about $28 per day.

Bloomberg reports that just one single contractor is expected to pocket over $450 million for housing children at their permanent facilities while the total cost of Trump's policy is expect to meet or surpass $1 billion if the number of children separated from their parents continues to climb.

The nonprofit, Southwest Key Programs Inc., is to be paid more than $458 million in fiscal 2018, according to the data -- the most among the organizations, government agencies and companies that run a detention and care system for immigrant children on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services. Southwest Key has about a dozen facilities in Texas, including a site at a former WalMart Inc. store in Brownsville that has drawn attention from members of Congress and national news organizations. [...]

The government already expects to spend $943 million in 2018 in grants to detain and care for the children, according to [Administration for Children and Families] data -- a figure that may increase as the Trump administration apprehends more families crossing the border.

The financial cost of Trump's policy is far less of a concern than the moral and emotional cost, but it should put the GOP's philosophy into sharper perspective.

Anti-immigrant hardliners have spent decades claiming immigrants cost Americans money by fraudulently claiming benefits from welfare programs they shouldn't qualify for. That's not true but, even if it were true, the Trump regime is going to spend far more money to imprison immigrants and their children than anyone could ever receive in phony benefits.

The GOP's financial arguments were never genuine and it was just a cover for their naked racism toward brown people, just like it is for black people.

  • Aynwrong

    For most of my life I assumed that this is the kind of cruelty that would cut through most people’s apathy or political voting habits and just make them say “NO MORE!” For most of my life I was wrong.

    The willingness of Republican voters to support and make excuses for this depraved sadism that will (assuming the best possible outcome) harm children for the rest of their natural lives is breathtaking even for someone as cynical as I’ve become.

    Please voters, ignore the f***ing purity caucus give this country the blue wave it so desperately needs. Vote the party of “blood and soil” out of power. Even if Europe goes full xenophobic fascism America can be restored to leader of the free world again. We can at least try.

    • JMAshby

      The willingness of Republican voters to support this is what white supremacy looks like.

    • Draxiar

      I don’t know about you but I like to picture the Blue Wave more like the Dothraki Hoard as they were charging in on the Lannister caravan in Game of Thrones Season 7.

      And then…


      • MadJuana

        Do I really have to watch the rest of Game of Thrones? I somehow never got past season 3.

  • muselet


    The detention of immigrant children is Southwest Key’s largest source of revenue. Southwest Key first opened an immigrant shelter in the late 1990s. It is now the largest recipient of Federal contracts to house immigrant children, and describes itself as “one of the largest providers of services to unaccompanied children in the USA.”] As of mid-2018, it houses 5,100 immigrant children and operates 26 immigrant youth facilities in Texas, Arizona, and California.

    [citations removed]

    Monetizing others’ misery is an interesting business model, isn’t it?

    Evidence surfaced in June 2018 of Southwest employees telling crying siblings, traumatized because they were just separated from their parents, that they weren’t allowed to hug and comfort each other.

    I don’t use the word “monsters” very often to describe despicable people—for one thing, it’s very unfair to actual monsters (Grendel looks pretty damn’ good by comparison)—but there’s no other word for people who would do something like that.

    Anti-immigrant hardliners likely have spontaneous orgasms at the thought of such gratuitous cruelty.


    • Aynwrong

      Limited government my ass.

      Your Grendel comment made me realize why Great Cthulhu has never awoken from his watery slumber. He can’t compete with today’s GOP.

    • ninjaf

      Anti-immigrant hardliners likely have spontaneous orgasms at the thought of such gratuitous cruelty.

      Insert O-face images of Miller, Stephen; Sessions, Jefferson; Bannon, Stephen, etc.

      • muselet



    • Christopher Foxx

      but there’s no other word for people who would do something like that.

      I use “vile”.

      Some people are simply vile.