VI. The Costs of Deportation: Financial Help to Families, Education for Traumatized Children Print E-mail


 Do Taxpayers Pay a Lot for Helping Unauthorized Immigrants?


How about these immigrants, the mainly Mexican Latinos, the Liberians, and the Childhood Arrivals? Are they causing us a lot of trouble, committing a lot of crimes, needing a lot of our tax dollars to help them get by? Not really. The Center for American Progress Immigration Team and Michael D. Nicholson point out that undocumented immigrants add trillions of dollars to the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, and their economic importance has increased as America’s largest generation, the baby boomers, retires en masse, creating a big demand for labor.1 As of 2014, Minnesota's residents born abroad were 8% of its population versus 13% for the nation as a whole. However, Minnesota's immigrant population grew much faster than the nation from 2010 to 2014, 15.8% versus 5.8% for the nation as a whole.2


The undocumented workers are paying into Social Security and Medicare, but that's other people's Social Security and Medicare they are paying for. They are not eligible to receive these benefits. In 2014, unauthorized immigrants in MN, who comprise 2% of the population, paid over $30 million to Medicare and $116 million to Social Security. They earned $1.6 billion in income from which they paid an estimated $117.3 million in federal taxes and $72.9 million in state and local taxes.2



Sometimes their children born in the U.S. receive nutrition benefits and Medicaid, but even so these benefits are probably a lot less than what they pay for other people's Social Security and Medicare benefits. "The Facts on Immigration Today: 2017 Edition" reveals that fewer than 1 in 5 immigrants live in poverty, and immigrant-headed households with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line rely on fewer public benefits and social services, 9.3%, than comparable U.S.-born households, 15%. Unauthorized immigrants qualify for very few public benefits and social services.1








1. CAP Immigration Team and Michael D. Nicholson. "The Facts on Immigration Today: 2017 Edition. CAP Immigration Team & Michael D. Nicholson, April 20, 2017.



2. “The Contributions of New Americans in Minnesota.” New American Economy, 2016, p. 27








Taxpayers' Help often Begins when a Parent Is Deported



deported guatemalan business owner and breadwinner with familyIn a video produced by Roy Germano,1 Professor in the International Relations Department at New York University, an unauthorized father from Guatemala, who owned a house framing business, was deported. Instead of contributing federal and state income taxes and property taxes, many families with a deported parent need help with housing costs, food, education, and social and health care services. Consequently, the deportation of unauthorized immigrant parents results in substantial costs that need to be covered by taxpayers.

guatemalan father deported family in utah 

For example these costs totaled over $100,000 for lost taxes and needed services for the family of 6 whose father and breadwinner was deported for a period of about 2 1/2 years1 after which he was permitted to return. This amounts to an annual cost of $40,000 for a family of six for an average cost of $6667 per year for each family member. Many children require foster care which costs considerably more than financial help and services to a family.






1.  VICE News. "Immigrant America: The High Cost of Deporting Parents." March 29, 2014.






Potential Projected MN and Brooklyn Park Costs for


Helping Families Whose Breadwinner Is Deported




MN Estimated Cost for Helping Families whose Breadwinner Is Deported



For many families, the period of separation would be much longer or permanent than for the family in the video. In Minnesota 138,664 people live in a family with at least one unauthorized family member. The Pew Research Center estimates that there are 95,000 unauthorized immigrants living in MN.1  If 62% of them work as is true for the nation as a whole, that would mean 59,000 missing breadwinners in MN if all of the undocumented breadwinners were deported leaving 79,664 family members, 61,574 of them children.


The costs for half of Minnesota's potential unauthorized family members of a deported parent is calculated. We expect that elected officials will come to their senses and stop deportations when they become aware of their high cost to taxpayers. Half of the unauthorized breadwinners would be 29,500. They would leave behind 39,832 family members, 30,787 of them children.



1) Low Income Families Whose Parent has been Deported


These are the families that on average lose 73% of their income when a parent, most frequently the father, is deported. We assume that five-sixths of the children (25,656) and the adults (9,095) who have the misfortune of a parent or spouse's deportation will find themselves in this situation (34,750).


We are using the per person average of $6667 per year of the family of 6 left without the father in Utah.  The Washington Post concluded in 2014 that $28,800 would be average cost for social welfare programs for a family consisting of a single parent and two children.2  That would be $9,600 per person.  Indeed, as the single parent, usually a mother, goes through a 2 year or 4 year degree program to prepare for her new career, the per person cost for benefit programs is likely to be closer to $9,600 or even considerably more.  However, as she completes her studies and starts her new career, the cost of programs still needed could drop to considerably lower than $6667.  The following graph from the Washington Post article shows the decline in the amount required from programs as income increases.2



declining benefit program participation with increased income 



Therefore we have used $6667 as the average benefit program and tax decline amount over multiple years for deportees' family members who will need help.


34,751 family members X $6667 =                                                               $231,684,917



2) The Cost of Foster Care - The cost would be higher for children who were left without a parent and required foster care. We didn't find information on the percent of deported immigrants' children that need foster care.  Most children will probably have one parent who remains with them or older siblings might be appointed as guardians for younger children.  We are guessing that one sixth of the children (5,157) would need foster care with an extended family member, friend, or community member. The estimate is based on the FY 2017 request for Title IV-E foster care funding. In this request, then-President Obama requested $4.992 billion in funds for 174,450 children for an average of $28,616.


5,131 children X $28,616 =                                                                         $146,828,696



MN Estimated Annual Cost of Assistance

to Families with a Parent Deported =                                                           $378,513,613




Brooklyn Park's Estimated Cost for Helping Families whose Parent Has Been  Deported



Brooklyn Park has about .015 the population of Minnesota. It has 2.5 times as many immigrants as a percent of its population as Minnesota. If we multiply .015 times 2.5, we get Brooklyn Park's share of immigrants in MN = .0375. Brooklyn Park's Costs for taking care of families whose breadwinner was deported is estimated under Brooklyn Park in the chart below.1



           Brooklyn Park                                                          Minnesota                    



Financial Help to Families:
34,751 members X $6667  X .0375                                                             

= $8,688,184                                                                                $231,684,917                    


Foster Care

5,131 children X $28,616  X .0375                                                               

= $5,506,076                                                                                $146,828,696                                                                                    

Total Annual Estimated

Cost of Family Assistance                                                               

$14,194,260                                                                                  $378,513,613






1. Duarte, Lorena. “What we know about Minnesota’s undocumented immigrant population.” MinnPost, December 15, 2015.


2.  Lee, Michelle Ye Hee.  Fact Checker:  "Do 'welfare' recipients get $35,000 in benefits a year?"  Washington Post, December 5, 2014.









Early Childhood Education Essential for Children


   Who Experience Separation from a Parent




It is especially important that any children younger than 4 years who are exposed to the trauma of separation from their parents should be enrolled in high quality early childhood education. A video with pediatrician Dr. Pamela Chawley and clinical psychologist Mike Troy, Ph.D., both at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, explains the importance of a child's early years on which all future years depend. Troy notes in the film that 700 neural connections are made every second in early childhood. The billions of brain cells connect as the young child develops motor skills, emotion, behavioral control, logic, language, and memory to form a foundation for all learning that comes later. All of the three main aspects of brain development begin in the last trimester before the child is born with sensory development peaking in early childhood, language development in elementary school, and cognitive development in adulthood.1




 human brain development




Dr. Troy noted that early childhood education is expensive, but it is a lot less costly than care needed in later childhood and adulthood if the child doesn't get a good start.1


In his research, Art Rolnick, former Senior Vice President at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, found that taxpayers can earn up to a $16 return by the time a child reaches adulthood for every $1 they spend2 on helping low-income children access quality early childhood education programs that prepare them for kindergarten. The reason: Children who are prepared for kindergarten are absent from school less frequently and much less likely to drop out of school, are less likely to need expensive taxpayer-funded services like special education, social services, and mental health services, are less likely to become involved in the criminal justice system, and are much more likely to graduate from high school, earn college degrees, get good jobs and pay taxes as adults.

Duane Benson and Todd Otis call for investing more in scholarships, starting with children who are homeless, abused or in foster care. If our city, our county, and our state follows the Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation scheme, there will be many more children living in poverty or in foster care. High quality early childhood education cannot take the place of missing parents, but it can contribute to giving them a better start in life.



Cost of Early Childhood Education in Minnesota


30,787 Children X .43 (0-5 year olds) =


13,238 X .67 (0-4 year olds) = 8,870


8870 X $12,000 annual cost of early childhood education =                           $106,440,000



Cost of Early Childhood Education in Brooklyn Park


Early Childhood Education

8870 X $12,000 annual cost  X .0375                                                           $   3,991,500                                               




1. ChawlaPamela Gigi, MD and Troy, Mike, Ph.D.  "The Early Years - Setting the Pathway for a Lifetime of Opportunity." Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. A Brown Bag Video. September 9, 2014.


2. Benson, Duane and Otis, Todd. It’s time to get serious about finishing the job on early education. Twin Cities Pioneer Press, March 30, 2017.








Additional K-12 Costs that Have Not Been Estimated - Yet!



dacaearlychildhoodbrief-1024x683The above estimate does not include the increased cost to public education for additional psychologists, social workers, and special education teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools.   If anyone can direct us to sources of information that would help us estimate these costs, please contact Carol Woehrer - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Photo:  AP Alan Diaz


For the nearly 6 million U.S.-citizen children living with at least one unauthorized family member, life in Trump’s America is frightening. Since the election, adults across the country have reported spikes in fear and distress among young children from immigrant families.2  Now more than ever, citizen children are worried that they could be separated from their parents or forced to leave their communities.3


Trump’s harsh immigration policies create toxic stress for young children by breaking families apart, instilling fear in the immigrant community, and preventing families from accessing programs that meet children’s most basic needs. Policies that cause children emotional distress and economic insecurity in early childhood interfere with their healthy development and derail their future success. Instead of becoming the backbone of the nation’s workforce and making contributions to the economy many may become adults that need mental health and supportive services.4  Additional staff, including social workers, mental health specialists, and special education teachers will be needed to help students attain their full potential.





1.  Mathema, Silva.  “Keeping Families Together” (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2017), available at


2. Kamenetz, Anna.   “I Have Children Crying In the Classroom,” nprEd, March 9, 2017, available at; Roque Planas and Jessica Carro, “This Is What Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Doing To School Kids,” The Huffington Post, March 1, 2017, available at; Andrew Gumbel, “Doctors see a new condition among immigrant children: fear of Trump,” The Guardian, November 25, 2016, available at


3. Capps, Randy; Castaneda, Rosa Maria; Chaudry, Ajay; and Santos, Robert. "Paying the Price:  The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's Children."  A Report by the Urban Institute for the National Council of LaRaza, 2007.


4. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration (2016).









MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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