$46,654: Annual Cost of Detaining Illegal Alien Exceeds Average American Income
Even if you do not count the extra day in that leap year, that works out to $46,654.30 for each detention bed occupied by an illegal alien for 365 days.
The approximately $46,654 it cost to house a detained illegal alien for 365 days in fiscal 2016 was approximately $104 more than the average income for Americans 15 and older that year—which, according to Census Bureau Table PINC-01, was $46,550.
The GAO report—“Immigration Detention: Opportunities Exist to Improve Cost Estimates”—examined how ICE calculates its anticipated budgetary needs for detaining illegal aliens. It discovered, for example, that ICE had made some basic mathematical errors in preparing its budget justifications for Congress, including a $34.7 million multiplication error in its fiscal 2014 request and a $129 million multiplication error in its fiscal 2015 request.
ICE also made a $4,000 multiplication error in calculating its fiscal 2018 budget justification, the report said.
“To determine its immigration detention costs, ICE primarily relies on two variables—the average dollar amount required to house one adult detainee for one day (bed rate) and the average daily population (ADP) of detainees,” said the GAO report.
“In order to determine the amount necessary to operate the detention system for adult detainees, ICE multiplies the projected ADP by the projected bed rate by the number of days in the year,” said GAO.
However, GAO discovered, ICE had difficulty successfully executing this multiplication problem in fiscal 2014, 2015 and 2018.
“During our review of ICE’s fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015 budget requests, we calculated the total amounts requested for ICE’s immigration detention costs using its formula (see fig. 3) and the ADP and bed rate figures provided in the budget request and compared it with ICE’s requested amount,” said he report. “Based on our calculations, the amounts ICE requested are not consistent (by a difference of $34.7 million for fiscal year 2014 and $129 million for fiscal year 2015) with the figures used to develop their estimate.18 ICE officials acknowledged the error.”
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