How Much Would Trump’s Immigration Plan Cost?

John Schoen with CNBC says removing an entire group of people from the economy would likely have devastating financial effects — “regardless of whether they’re documented or not.”

By Rhonda FanningAugust 18, 2015 4:04 pm, ,

Donald Trump is often criticized by his fellow Republican presidential candidates for a lack of concrete policy platforms. On Sunday, he released his first official platform: Details of his plan for immigration reform. Included in that plan is the mass deportation of undocumented individuals living in the U.S. Trump told Meet The Press on Sunday that “we’re going to keep the families together, but they have to go.”

So that’s his plan on paper, but how would Trump’s plan translate into reality? More specifically, how much would it cost to deport all of America’s undocumented residents? John W. Schoen is an economics reporter for He sat down with the Standard to discuss his estimates on how much Trump’s plan will cost.

On why removing undocumented immigrants would cost so much:

“If you remove a large number of people from the country — regardless of whether they’re documented or not — all of the activity that that group of people contributes to the economy [is lost], both in terms of wages and consumer spending. These are people who are undocumented but they’re participating in the economy just like everybody else — they shop, they build thing, they make things, they contribute value. If you remove that group then that value goes away from the economy.”

On how much the economy would shrink without undocumented immigrants:

“The economy would be smaller… about 6 percent smaller over 20 years, that’s about 1.6 trillion, and that’s about one year’s worth of Texas’ [total gross domestic product].”

On why it’s hard for economists to say the exact dollar amount attached to Trump’s plan:

“The reason that this group gave a range is because a lot depends on the details and while Mr. Trump has given some detail in his policy paper on Sunday, it was a little short on the mechanics and the logistics… You’d have to really talk to people at Homeland Security about what would be involved in salaries for extra officers, transportation… The exact cost breakdown would be very hard to do.”