MYTH: "Enforcement and border security will solve the problem"
We all want to stop illegal immigration, but this costly strategy of deportation and enforcement without reform has failed over and over again and cost billions of taxpayers dollars. At the same time that spending on immigration enforcement has skyrocketed, the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has roughly tripled from 3.5 million in 1990 to 12 million in 2008. From 1986 to 2002, the budget for the Border Patrol increased tenfold from $151 million to $1.6 billion; yet during that same time, since 1990, more than 9 million undocumented immigrants were added to our population.
It is estimated to cost well over $200 billion--more than four times the total Homeland Security budget 2008--to deport today's 12 million undocumented immigrants. This cost to taxpayers doesn't begin to account for the resulting devastation of communities, small businesses and local economies.
Trying to eliminate the undocumented workforce through "enforcement-only" policies would only force more workers into the underground economy and decrease tax revenue. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that mandating the employment verification program, E-Verify, would decrease federal revenues by $17.3 billion from 2009-1018 by pushing millions of workers further into the underground economy.