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You are watching: How much does it cost to detain an illegal immigrant

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"Each year ice cream detains someone, it prices taxpayers end $50,000. For comparison, by the way, that's 4 times the quantity the federal government spends on each boy in our public schools."


Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., tested the department of homeland Security’s spending practices, speak the agency is "unnecessarily detaining people," such together pregnant women.

Murray available a to compare of commonwealth dollars the go towards the detention of immigrants through money invested to educate children in public schools.

"As you know, detention is yes, really expensive," Murray said during a might 8 Senate subcommittee hearing because that the department’s 2019 budget request. "Each year (U.S. Customs and also Immigration Enforcement) detains someone, it costs taxpayers over $50,000. For comparison, through the way, that"s four times the lot the federal federal government spends ~ above each son in our public schools."

We found that Murray’s math consists of some truth, but needs clarify and added information.

Based on the present rate to house an adult detainee per day, the would price slightly over $50,000 to store a human detained because that a year. That’s around four time the approximate $13,000 windy schools received per student.

However, a year"s detention is not realistic, as most detainees are hosted an mean of 40 days. Also, most school resources is in ~ the state and also local levels, no federal.

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Immigrant detention costs

Murray’s office said her $50,000 calculation was one annualized calculation of the present daily bed rate for immigrant detention, $137.19, multiplied by 365 job (a complete of $50,074.35).

The bed price is the national average expense to residence one adult detainee for one day. In recent years, the mean bed rate has actually been approximately $130.

That $50,000 is most likely a conservative calculation of the detention costs. Native fiscal years 2014 through 2017, ice underestimated the yes, really bed rate, said an April 2018 U.S. Federal government Accountability Office report, flagging "inconsistencies and also errors" in ICE’s calculations for immigrant detention costs. Due to the fact that ICE had actually not got an appropriation because that fiscal year 2018 throughout the time the GAO’s review, GAO did no assess 2018’s budget projection contrasted to actual costs. Still, GAO said ICE’s 2018 request consisted of a multiplication error that resulted in ICE requesting much less funds for adult beds.

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It would cost much more than $50,000 to keep one immigrant in detention because that a year based upon the present bed rate. Yet so much in budget year 2018, the average length of detention has been 40.5 days, according to ice spokeswoman danielle Bennett. The average length of detention native fiscal years 2014 v 2016 was around 33 days, according to the ICE spending plan overview because that fiscal year 2018.

The average length of detention for immigrant apprehended at the southwest border was around 27.4 days in fiscal year 2017, and increased to 51.5 job for immigrant apprehended in the inner of the country, the budget plan overview said. It also said the "due to a revitalized focus ~ above ensuring public security by enhancing interior enforcement" detention that criminal immigrants "may be significantly higher when compared to former years."