How Much Does it Cost to Deport 392,000 People?

October 07, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Roughly $9.2 billion, according to figures from a March report on the per-immigrant cost of each step of the removal process. The numbers are estimates, of course, but it is still useful to illustrate the high costs behind the record number of deportations the DHS announced yesterday.

There are a number of costs involved in the removal process. First, illegal immigrants must be apprehended, which requires local law enforcement, Border Patrol and a number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement programs and offices. Next, they must be detained, and then processed through the legal system. Finally, illegal immigrants must be transported back to their native countries. Here are the per-person costs listed in the Center for American Progress report released in March:

**Apprehension: **$18,310

**Detention: **$3,355

**Legal processing: **$817

**Transportation: **$1,000

In total, that’s $23,480 for each of the 392,000 people the U.S. removed last year, or $9,204,944,000.

Of course, many of those deported were convicted criminals, meaning they would have had imposed high costs had they remained in the country. While numbers vary from state to state, on average it costs at least $60 per day (or $1,800 per month) to incarcerate prisoners.