Chiefly among the reasons why Donald Trump has captured and maintained the highest level of support among Republican presidential candidates is his hardline stance on immigration, a stance highlighted by his claim that Mexican immigrants are rapists.
Trump reiterated his position yesterday by calling for the deportation of all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in America.
Trump said Wednesday in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash that as president he would deport all undocumented immigrants and then allow the "good ones" to reenter the country through an "expedited process" and live in the U.S. legally, though not as citizens.
"Legal status," Trump suggested. "We got to move 'em out, we're going to move 'em back in if they're really good people."
Trump may use the most colorful language when he calls for mass deportation, but most of the Republican field agrees with him in principle.
What none of them are willing to talk about, however, is the insanely high cost of deporting 11 million people.
The center-right organization American Action Forum (AAF) found that it would cost between $400 billion and $600 billion to apprehend, detain, legally process, and transport every undocumented immigrant back to their countries of origin. Breaking down similar statistics, a Center of American Progress report found that it would cost an average of about $10,070 to deport each individual. The AAF report also found that without the 11 million undocumented immigrants, the U.S. labor force would shrink and real GDP would be reduced by $1.6 trillion.
I have hunch that no Republican would support raising taxes to pay for their mass deportation scheme and cutting this amount of money from the federal budget to pay for it would be equivalent to defunding Medicaid or Medicare for an entire year.