Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann insisted Saturday that it was time deported all undocumented immigrants.
During a forum with the GOP candidates on Fox News Saturday, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) asked Bachmann how she would go about deporting all 11 million of the undocumented.
"I want people to know that there is a cost already to having illegal aliens in the United States," Bachmann claimed. "It costs us, the taxpayers, $113 billion every year, and $32 billion of that cost is absorbed by the states. And that actually works out to about a thousand dollars per American household."
"This is the thorniest, most difficult issue in dealing with illegal immigration. What about deportation? I believe we should uphold the laws of the land, which does include deportation."
"What is your plan for executing it?" Bondi wondered.
"It would be enforcement," Bachmann replied. "Enforcement both at the border but also by the [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents. Right now the ICE agents -- those are the agents in the interior of the country who are tasked with enforcing the law -- they are not enforcing them and we also have sanctuary cities now where they don't enforce the laws on deportation. I think that what we simply need to do is to start enforcing the laws which we are not doing and begin the process of deportation."
As for Bachmann's claim that undocumented immigrants cost taxpayers $113 billion each year, the Center for Immigration Studies puts that number at closer to $50 billion. That's before you consider the $11.2 billion they pay in taxes each year.
But Reason Foundation's Shikha Dalmia says that those numbers don't tell the whole story.
"Since undocumented workers have only fake [Social Security] numbers, they'll never be able to collect the benefits these taxes are meant to pay for," Dalmia wrote in 2006. "Last year, the revenues from these fake numbers — that the Social Security administration stashes in the 'earnings suspense file' — added up to 10 percent of the Social Security surplus. The file is growing, on average, by more than $50 billion a year."
According to the non-partisan National Resource Council, undocumented immigrants contribute $80,000 more in taxes than they consume.