From ThinkProgress.org, Marie Diamond, 28 Nov 2011.
Determined to distinguish herself with the most draconian immigration position in the GOP field, today Michele Bachmann elaborated on her plan to deport every single undocumented immigrant in the country:
[P]residential candidate Michele Bachmann called for 11 million illegal immigrants to be deported from the United States in steps. [...]Asked by radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday about an earlier statement she made differentiating between immigrants who had recently entered the country illegally from those with longstanding ties to the United States, Bachmann said she was never referring to legalization.“What I’m talking about is the order of deportation, the sequence of deportation,” Bachmann replied. “It is almost impossible to move 11 million illegal immigrants overnight. You do it in steps.” Bachmann said deporting those convicted of crimes would be the first step.
Despite the sheer impracticality (and sinister connotations) of somehow identifying, rounding up, and transporting each and every undocumented immigrant to their country of origin, experts say that such a radical move would be utterly calamitous for the U.S. economy. A Center for American Progress analysis estimated that the cost of deporting the undocumented population would total $285 billion over five years.
It costs $23,148 for each person to be apprehended, detained, legally processed, and transported out of the country. A deportation-only policy would amount to $922 in new taxes for “every man, woman, and child in this country” — an exorbitant price tag for the satisfaction of appearing tough on immigrants.
Furthermore, mass deportation would reduce the country’s GDP by 1.46 percent, which would amount to $2.6 trillion in cumulative losses over 10 years. It would also cripple several essential industries, like agriculture, that depend on immigrant labor — which is why the farmers and business owners Bachmann claims to represent have been vehemently opposed to such a plan.
Harsh immigration laws in states like Alabama have already resulted in a mass exodus of migrant workers that many farmers say will drive them out of business by next year. Crops are rotting in the field without migrant workers to harvest them.
All of this is to say nothing of the human toll of needlessly separating families and overwhelming the foster care system with the American-born children of the deported. Not that Bachmann cares about that — she once said proudly that she wouldn’t do “anything” to help the children of undocumented immigrants. She has also sponsored legislation to repeal birthright citizenship — a blatant violation of the 14th amendment — to strip these children of their legal status.