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Illegal Immigration Statistical and Information Data

Updated on July 2, 2019
michelleonly3 profile image

M. D. Jackson is a college psychology professor, author, family counselor, and a mother of nine adult children.

Illegal Immigrants caught crossing into the US
Illegal Immigrants caught crossing into the US | Source

Should the United States Build a Border Wall on The Mexico Border?

Possibly the most controversial issue in twenty years is the border wall proposed between the United States and Mexico. Having listened to both sides of this issue, it seemed there was a lack of honesty and information concerning the border wall. Today I am writing a non-partisan statistically based article. This article will not contain my opinion. You can read the facts and decide your position on your own. If you feel a key point or statistic was missed feel free to contact me and will try to include it.

2019 Illegal Immigrant Reporting

The Department of Homeland Security (2019) has reported that in the last four months 8,797 illegal immigrants were apprehended upon enter into the United States. This is 81% over the previous year.

“ Of the 8,797 apprehended in large groups, 7,757 are from Guatemala, and comprised mostly of family units (FMUA) and unaccompanied children (UAC). That means 96.1% are members of family units (84.6%) or unaccompanied children (11.5%) and 99.6% are from the Northern Triangle countries: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador”(Department of Homeland Security, 2019).

Of those Illegal immigrants 2,224 had to be hospitalized for medical issues (Homeland security, 2019).

Illegal immigration Prison Statistics

What exactly does it cost the United States to have illegal immigrants from south of our border? We are going to look at the real statistics so that we all have the same information.

Number of illegal immigrants in the US prison system as of May, 2017 = 45,493 inmates (DOJ report, 2017). The average cost per year to incarcerate per inmate is $73,500.00 (the lowest being some states where its $31,000 and the highest being $81,000). In 2015 the public defenders report showed that the average cost per case is $535.22.

Cost to incarcerate Illegal immigrants per year = $3,104,836,000

Cost to defend illegal immigrants currently incarcerated = $24,348,763.50

These statistics to not account for illegal immigrants in county jails still awaiting trial.

Gang Recruitment

Exact statistics for gang recruitment are unknown. In February of 2018 the Department of Homeland Security report showed that for the previous month; 13 out of 39, MS13 gang arrests in the New York area were illegal alien children who were previously released awaiting immigration prodeedings. That was one city in one month.

Process for Illegal Immigrant Children

How long is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allowed to leave kids in a cage? According to immigration law unaccompanied children are only allowed to be in the processing hold area (fenced in) for 72 hours. They are then transferred to group homes at a cost of $670.00 a day (They are given access to play areas, video games, and trips depending on the area of incarceration). The office of refugee settlement shows that 34,815 children were in group housing. According to ICE children stay for an average of 44 days (until relatives can be located).

The 2018 Department of Justice report showed 60,000 minors are processed and given temporary entry in to the United States. Of that 60,000 , 25,000 a year do not show up for the deportation court hearing.

Cost to house unaccompanied Immigrant Children= $29,480 per child = $1,026,346,200 per year

Border Enforcement Costs

The American Immigration Council (2018) reported that 49,000 border and interior enforcement people are employed by the United States. Average pay for immigration workers in the United States is $73,884.00(Immigration Office, 2018).

ICE Arrested 65,332 individuals in 2017 (, 2018). The average cost per day to hold these adults is $177.00, average detention time is 31 days.

Cost of deportation per person $10,000.00 (CNN, NBC 2018)

Salary for Border agents per year $73,884 number of agents 49,000 = $3,620,316,000 per year

Average hold before deportation $5,487 per 65,332 people =$358,476,684

Cost to deport illegal immigrants 65,332 people at a cost of $10,000.00 = $653,320,000.00 per year

Benefits for Illegal Immigrants

On January 24, 2019 the Washington examiner reported that illegal immigrant families receive an average of $5,692.00 a month in federal benefits. The examiner took these numbers from the Center for Immigration studies report. An estimated 62% of illegal immigrants are receiving some form of state aid and account for ¼ the United States poverty (Center for Immigration Studies, 2018). Their estimations for the number of the illegal immigrants in the United States fluctuates however, current reports indicate somewhere is in the neighborhood of 40 million illegal immigrants. For the sake of argument we will use the number 25 million for the calculations.

People receiving government benefits =

6,250,000 people at a cost of $5,692.00 per month= $35,575,000,000


The Center for Immigration Studies reports that 10.9 million students in the US school system are illegal immigrants. The average cost per US student ranges from $11,000 to $15,000 depending on state.

Yearly Education cost total education costs = $1,407,430,500,000

Money Sent Out of the Country

Many news organizations have brought up the fact that funds are sent out of our country costing the US economy money. Anyone at the western Union off can attest to the deportation of American dollars to other countries. Is it a problem and how much money is leaving the United States? In 2016 the Central Banking Report stated that over $27 million dollars was transferred to Mexico. The impact of the money leaving the US is not documented.

Federal Aid to Mexico

The United States gives away an estimated 50 billion dollars in aid to foreign countries most of them in Africa. In January of 2017, USA Today reported that the United States sends $320 million dollars in aid to Mexico annually.

Employment/Social Security Fraud

In 2016 a Washington Times article divulged that over one million US citizens were the victims of social security fraud by Illegal Immigrants. The article goes on to say that the IRS failed to notify these individuals of the fraud as well. The exact cost of this fraud is not documented to tax payers and the government is undocumented.

According to Migration, 7,728,000.00 illegal immigrants are employed in the United States.

Bodies found along US-Mexico border
Bodies found along US-Mexico border | Source
Drugs found on Mexico Border
Drugs found on Mexico Border | Source

Death Toll of Illegal Immigrants

In May of 2017 the New York Times published an article about the 500 bodies found in one county of Texas on the border. The known death toll as of 2016 was 6,023 illegal immigrants, found on the southwest border. The number does not count the people who we detained in need of medical assistance and did not survive once they were treated.

Cost of Coyotes

A coyotes is the person paid by illegal immigrants to guide or smuggle them across the border. Current illegal immigrants in custody reported paying $3,000-4,000 per person for this service.

Cost of Citizenship

The current filing fees to become a US citizen are; application for naturalization $725. You must pass the Naturalization test. It takes between 11and 18 months to become a citizen (Citizen’s, 2018).


The vetting process is system of checks to ensure that a person entering the country is not a known terrorist or criminal.

The following is the vetting list compiled by David Inserra:

“The State Department

-Consular Lookout and Support System

-Consular Consolidated Database

-Department of Homeland Security

-TECS (a DHS security system)

-DHS Automated Biometric Identification System

National Counterterrorism Center/FBI's Terrorist Screening Center

-Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment

-Terrorist Screening Database

Federal Bureau of Investigation

-Extracts of the National Crime Information Center's Wanted Persons File, Immigration Violator File, Foreign Fugitive File, Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (and the Interstate Identification Index)

-Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System / Next Generation Identification


Drug Enforcement Administration

Department of Defense

-Automated Biometric Identification System” (end quote).

All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.

— Barack Obama

Separated Families and the Law

The Flores agreement put into place by Bill Clinton in 1997 stated that “all accompanied or unaccompanied minors” could only be detained by homeland security for a period of 20 days prior to being released only to foster care services (Department of Homeland Security, 2018). The Flores Agreement has been used as the law regarding detaining children ever since. Parents who agreed to be returned to their home country were immediately reunited with their children. Children not returning to their home country would be placed in foster care or placed with a blood relative if one were available. Prior presidents have all left this law “as is” and maintained the separation of children from adults/parents.

How many children are traveling with non-relatives? In May of 2018 the Washington Post reported that 10% of all children crossing the border were not accompanied by a relative. According to Department of Homeland Security (2018) only 3.5 percent of children are returned to their home country.

Sonora River Mexico
Sonora River Mexico | Source
Mexico City
Mexico City | Source

Living Conditions in Mexico


Due to high pollution and conditions of poverty many children (13 out of every 10,000) in Mexico are born with Anencephaly. Anencephaly is a birth defect that causes a child to not develop parts of their brain or skull. Most children with the defect die. High rates of asthma, Diabetes II, and infectious diseases such as cholera, dengue fever, hepatitis, tuberculosis are common.

Living conditions

Clean water and air are a serious problem in Mexico. Large populations of Mexico’s people live in shanties close to resources. These shanties do not have running water, electricity, or plumbing. Most of them are made of cardboard, scrap wood, and cloth.


Most people are employed through free trade on the border towns. These are areas where the factories are and people can sell goods on the streets. The factory workers in Mexico make an average of $40 a day.

Challenges of Illegal Immigrants

Challenges that illegal immigrants face in the United States are:

  1. Low wages
  2. Proper housing
  3. Language barriers
  4. Assimilation issues
  5. Lack of understanding concerning laws

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

— Donald Trump

Drugs Crossing the Border

Customs and Border Protection reported in 2016 that 99.8% of all the illegal drugs brought into the US came from Mexico. Also in 2016, officers on the border seized 1.5 million pounds of illegal drugs. Almost 60% of the drugs seized were cocaine or heroin.

Cost to Build the Wall

The current cost estimate to build the wall is $16-25 billion dollars. At this time the border wall design chosen is not available to view. Prototypes of the wall consisted of walls with ground sensors to detect anyone digging in the area. Some of the designs were concrete while other were metal or a combination of the two.

As stated at the beginning of this article, this is merely information anyone can verify online. It is not the point of this article to sway the reader or push a political agenda. Also previously stated you are welcome to request that additional information be added. If you feel a statistic was misrepresented, I challenge you to prove to the best of your ability what corrections need to be made. All recommendations will be considered and any information that is relevant will be added. Illegal immigration is a complex problem with many dynamics to consider.

© 2019 MD Jackson MSIOP


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    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      2 years ago from Western United States

      You are thinking the wrong way. I did not write the article for people who support Trump, it was written to provide an unbiased informational article for people who “ do not” support the wall. I was not arguing with you, I was explaining to you why I didn’t write the article in support or not in support of the wall. I was not trying to argue anything with you. Please go back and read it again please.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      2 years ago


      Why not just make some compelling points supporting your article, rather than the personal attack. I gave you facts, and you ignore them. Why? Is it because you can't challenge them?

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      2 years ago from Western United States

      You sir, have just figured out for yourself, the entire motivation for the article. When someone argues with you about a subject you then have the option to argue back. When someone just gives you facts, you get to decide for yourself.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      2 years ago

      MD Jackson

      What you didn't factor in this article is that the Wall is a one time expenditure plus what ever maintenance costs, while all these other costs are recurring expenses.

      The Wall would also reduce the criminal element that walks across the open border, and a fence that already exists in some parts of the border is not a wall.

      Letting people enter to the US across and open border prevents them from being vetted.which is done in the legal immigration process. This would reject many criminals and their is more than just MS 13 gangs. There are thousands of gangs already in the country and they inhabit many cities, and suburban areas. Many of them deal in the illegal drugs, human trafficking, child trafficking, gun running and other contraband.

      These illegal drugs are added to our already very heavy domestic illegal drugs. This puts additional burdens on local and state police and these are indirect costs that add up quickly.

      The management and distribution of these illegal drugs creates criminal activity from the drug dealers, their gangs, as well as the drug addicts that commit crimes to feed their habit, and health issues from taking the drugs. There is also a significant problem with suicides, and how much of that is caused by taking illegal drugs.

      I have written six articles on gangs in America, so I won't repeat them here.

      But, I believe your article has only shown the tip of the iceberg.

      The reason for the wall is more than illegal aliens, it is for national defense. Also, when you report the statistics for those people caught illegally in the US, you don't know what percentage of the number of people they are compared to the total of people crossing the border illegally. It is estimated that $20 billion in illegal drugs crosses the US border every year.

      Again, for every direct cost that you name there is an indirect cost that is not available.

      When you talk about the SS fraud use by the illegal aliens these are independent crimes beyond their illegal entry. And with CA and other states and cities creating sanctuary for illegal aliens, this makes the job of enforcing immigration laws more difficult and costly. Why should sanctuary exist, and especially for Convicted Illegal Alien Felons?

      The point is that the resistance to the wall is not the money to build it, but the politics to keep illegal alien migration flowing. $25 billion again is a one time cost, while all the other costs are recurring year after year, decade after decade and longer. These costs both direct and indirect will only increase every year.

    • michelleonly3 profile imageAUTHOR

      MD Jackson MSIOP 

      2 years ago from Western United States

      That is why I wrote the article from a purely informational standpoint. Obviously vetting people coming into the country is important. After writing the article I realized that the people coming into the country do not even show up for their immigration hearings. Basically these people get processed and then the government loses them.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      It is a very difficult issue. I can see both sides of the argument. I can see why the UK and the USA appear so attractive to migrants. But I can also see that unlimited immigration would be unsustainable. Immigration for many was a key issue in voting to leave the EU. It was suggested that leaving would give the UK more control over immigration, which is a debatable issue. At the same time I have a niggling sense of the injustice of it all. Why should I, through an accident of my birth in the UK, live in a relatively wealthy country, whilst others have been born in poorer areas of the world? How would I feel if the roles had been reversed?

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      The illegal crossings certainly have risen along with a huge cost. i know the people of Mexico and the central American countries live in substandared conditions, but I don't see how we can manage to continue to take is this huge number of people.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      Illegal immigration is also an issue for the UK. Only today I saw a news report showing people trying to stow away on lorries to cross the English Channel. Recently we have had a number crossing from France in inflatables. In some ways we are fortunate to have the Channel as a natural barrier.


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