Will closing immigration detention centers save taxpayer money? That’s what a study by the National Immigrant Justice Center and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights says. According to the Associated Press, the Chicago-based advocacy groups found three detention centers in the Midwest they claim provide inadequate facilities, and demand that the Obama administration stop plans for any new detention centers. The organizations believe closing these centers will save taxpayer dollars, particularly since these immigrants have committed no crime, they merely lack legal status.
The conductors of this study suffer from a major flaw—the failure to think.
Entering this country without inspection is a crime. Is the government only to prosecute those who have compounded their crime with other crimes? FAIR estimates illegal immigrants cost $113 billion a year in services, welfare, and lost American jobs, even taking into account their tax contributions. The cost benefit of closing these detention centers would be negligible, not to mention the additional costs these aliens would accrue should they commit additional crimes, take advantage of public benefits and services such as emergency health care.
While human rights are immutable, allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States—to drain taxpayer funds allotted to healthcare, education, and public services—doesn’t make sense, fiscal or otherwise.