U.S. Spending at Least $18.6 Million Per Day to Incarcerate Illegal Aliens

Edwin Mora, Cybercast News Service, October 8, 2010

U.S. taxpayers are spending at least $18.6 million per day to house an estimated 300,000 to 450,000 illegal immigrants who are incarcerated and eligible for deportation from the United States, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The cost per day for these prisoners is based on Justice Department incarceration cost estimates from 2001 and on the lower-end figure of 300,000 incarcerated deportable aliens, which means the actual expense today could be substantially higher than $18.6 million per day.

The prisones involved here are foreign national who have come into the United States, committed a crime, been captured, and imprisoned.

Half of the undocumented aliens who were removed from the United States in fiscal 2010 (which ended on Sept. 30) had been convicted of a crime in the United States.

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In its March 2010 report, “Immigration Enforcement Actions: 2009,” the DHS defines removal as “the compulsory and confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States based on an order of removal. An alien who is removed has administrative or criminal consequences placed on subsequent reentry owing to the fact of the removal.”

Kara McCarthy, a spokeswoman at the DOJ, told CNSNews.com that the latest data available show that “average annual operating costs per state inmate for Fiscal Year 2001 was $22,650; in the Federal Bureau of Prisons it was $22,632.”

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The cost of $22,650 per year to house just one inmate at the state level equals about $62 a day ($22,650 divided by 365 days). In the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it also averages out to $62 per day ($22,632 divided by 365 days).

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When CNSNews.com asked why incarcerated aliens who are eligible for removal have not been deported, a DHS spokesperson said, “It is because they are still serving their criminal sentence. ICE does not receive criminal aliens from state criminal justice systems until after they have completed their sentences.”

On the same day the IG’s office released its performance plan report, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton announced that half of the undocumented aliens who were removed from the United States in fiscal year 2010, which ended on Sept. 30, were convicted criminals.

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