1,000 flights a year, costing $8,419 per hour
Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. – “If we had the type of enforcement that other countries have, most of these thousand-plus flights per year would not have been unnecessary,” said IRLI Executive Director & General Counsel Dale Wilcox.
“These are the kinds of taxpayer expenses that have to be discussed when debating the costs of completing our border fence,” Wilcox said.
The costs, spelled out in documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act to the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI,) a non-profit law firm that advocates for greater immigration control, covered both commercial and charter flights needed to illegal alien’s to their source-countries in mostly Central American nations.
The U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency put the price tag at $838,507,614 since 2011, when illegal immigration began to spike.
“The American taxpayer would be hit with a fraction of these financial and environmental costs if we had a more complete border fence or if worker-protection programs, like mandatory e-Verify, were put in place like they should be,” says Wilcox.
The $838 million total that U.S. taxpayers have been charged to fly illegal immigrants home represents money that anti-immigration advocates hope will be diverted to increase border security, including President Trump’s Border Wall.
Landing fees paid to airports and governments in the illegal alien’s source-countries were provided separately, and approximate $5 million.
The group pointed to a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s Report on problems with the ICE flights, noting that too often the flights are sparsely populated.
The Homeland Security Inspector General’s Report said that over three years, from 2010-2014, 930,435 illegals were returned. The cost per hour for the flights average $8,419.
IRLI said the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement figures include the cost of leasing and owning planes, using commercial airlines, and fuel, food and staffing costs.
It also said the agency averaged 1,000 flights a year.
President Trump has promised to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and Congressional lawmakers have indicated they plan to at least partially fund the project with taxes and fees on immigrants.