Wills Robinson, Daily Mail, April 14, 2016
American taxpayers are forking out more than $300,000 every day to deport illegal immigrants on commercial flights and even on private jets, Daily Mail Online can exclusively reveal.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spent $116m in 2015 to transport 235,413 people in the United States illegally back to their home countries.
More than 40 per cent of those who had violated visa restrictions were convicted criminals while more than 1,000 were identified as gang members.
A group campaigning for taxpayers’ rights have said the figures obtained by the Daily Mail Online are ‘insane’ and an ‘outrageous waste of tax dollars’.
The ICE revealed to Daily Mail Online that the average cost of every immigrant in 2015 was $12,213.
The cost includes identifying the immigrant, apprehending them, placing them in a detention center, their process through immigration court and their subsequent removal.
To remove an illegal immigrant costs an average of $1,962. This includes both ground and air fares.
When they needed to be taken abroad, ICE either used commercial flights or hired jets, including a Gulfstream IV.
At one point they hired a a long-range, twin engine commercial jet that seats 261 passengers to take a single illegal immigrant to Nigeria.
They had to charter flights for so-called ‘high-risk charters’ on at least 34 occasions, because of the number of security personnel they needed on the flight.
The statistics obtained by Daily Mail Online following a Freedom of Information request. They revealed that ICE uses commercial flights to send illegal immigrants back to 190 countries.
David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, told Daily Mail Online: ‘This is insane.’
He added: ‘This is an outrageous and unacceptable waste of tax dollars. There is absolutely zero justification for spending this amount of money deporting immigrants.
‘DHS needs to find a more efficient way to do this. Somebody at DHS should be held accountable for this.
‘This type of wasteful spending is why the American people have such a high level of skepticism and cynicism about government.
‘Leave it to the government to take a relatively simple task and make it complicated and expensive.
The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not respond to requests for comment.
The latest revelations come to just months after Daily Mail Online discovered that housing someone in the nation’s largest immigration detention center costs more than a night’s stay at the nearest Hilton Hotel.
The government shells out $231 every 24 hours to house just one of the 2,105 foreign detainees at The South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, a small town 200 miles from the Mexican border.
The figure was more than a double room at the four-star Hilton Palacio del Rio 70 miles away in San Antonio, which costs $169.
It was also higher than the $199 rate for a king suite at the nearby four-star Hotel Cantessa–which boasts a rooftop pool and a gym.
The figures are likely to be fodder for Republican front-running presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has won over voters attacking the government of Mexico and outlining a plan to charge them $100,000 for every illegal immigrant who crosses the southern border.
He has attacked the Mexican government for allegedly ‘pushing’ undocumented immigrants to the U.S. to avoid dealing with them themselves.
Trump said that Mexico had been allowed to get away with the scheme because they are ‘smart’ and President Obama and his administration are ‘stupid’–a situation which can only be fixed if he leads the charge to ‘take back our country’.
A report by the National Immigration Center suggests alternate methods to detention, including ankle monitoring bracelets, would cost the government between 17 cents and $17 per illegal each day.
The controversial center in Dilley, a town of just 3,650 people, was opened last May to accommodate an influx of families crossing the border and takes in around 40 immigrants every day.
More than 500 protesters gathered outside when the doors opened and chanted ‘shut it down’.
The facility, which costs more than $178m a year to run, forms part of the enormous network of facilities operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The agency which overseas the detention of illegal immigrants as an annual budget of $989m.
Flat screen TVs, playgrounds and 24-hour snacks are a few of the amenities on offer inside.
The 50-acre compound features 80 two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottages connected by dirt roads and newly laid grass sod.
The cottages include bunk beds and cribs that can sleep up to eight, and a kitchen–although cooking is prohibited to prevent fires.
Food is served in a dining hall but, according to reports, many children have rejected the food.