(KMSP) - President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to deport more than two million undocumented immigrants who’ve committed crimes, but where did he get those numbers?
Most likely, Trump found the number in a Department of Homeland Security report, which said “1.9 million removable aliens are in the United States.” The language of the report is important because it includes not only undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes, but also noncitizens in the country legally.
An estimate of only the number of undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes comes from the Migration Policy Institute, and puts the number around 820,000 — not 1.9 million.
But what if Trump wanted to deport 2 to 3 million people in year? Without Congress allocating more money, the task would be almost impossible.
“You would need an immigration agency to swell up to three times the size of the New York City Police Department, 96,000 people. You would need 32,000 new immigration attorneys all at once. And you would need judges because you still have the Constitution,” David Wilson, an immigration attorney at Wilson Law Group in Minneapolis, told Fox 9.
Trump could choose to prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants with criminal histories, but he would probably not see a significant spike in deportations because the Obama Administration already has this policy.
“The priorities are already in place,” Wilson said. “The government has been focusing on major crimes and enforcing against those kinds of convictions.”
In 2003, criminals comprised 40 percent of deportations. In 2015, the percentage jumped to 59 percent. And if you exclude border apprehensions, 91 percent of undocumented immigrants deported in 2015 had criminal histories, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement; ICE calls these “interior removals.”
The federal government is currently funded to deport about 400,000 people each year, as estimated by the Migration Policy Institute. In other words, Trump would need a lot more money to significantly increase deportations.