Shortly before the 2012 election, the administration of Barack Obama instituted a new approach to immigrants in the country illegally. Those who’d come into the United States before their 16th birthdays and who were in school or had graduated from high school without being convicted of a crime were offered protection from deportation and the ability to work legally in the United States. Those eligible had to apply for coverage under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program — and more than a million did.
What would a complete termination of DACA mean? It would mean, in essence, that those 787,000 or so people who’d received protection under the rule could be subject to deportation. Earlier this year, the Arizona Republic asked ICE how much it cost to deport someone who’d immigrated to the country illegally and learned that, on average, the agency spent $10,854 per deportee.
This equals billions of dollars in additional spending. Should we spend billions of dollars to terminate DACA and deport people who have been here for years?