The Deportation debate

What's the economic impact of removing illegal immigrants who have no criminal records? Anderson Cooper hears from both sides of the debate

CBS All Access
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Deporting undocumented immigrants comes at a cost. According to the American Action Forum, a right-leaning Washington research group run by a former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, deporting all undocumented immigrants in just two years would shrink the labor force by 10.3 million workers and reduce real GDP by $1 trillion.

Is it worth it? It depends who you ask.

This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Anderson Cooper speaks with friends and family of Roberto Beristain, an Indiana business owner who came to the U.S. illegally nearly 20 years ago and was deported to Mexico this spring. Beristain's supporters tell Cooper they are upset with President Trump's immigration policy, even though many — including Beristain's wife — voted for President Trump.

Beristain entered the U.S. illegally in 1998, but he'd been issued a temporary work permit, social security number, and driver's license during the Obama administration. He was the longtime cook and new owner of "Eddie's Steak Shed," a restaurant in Granger, Indiana, which employs up to 20 people.

In the clip above, Cooper speaks with Sam Centellas, the executive director of La Casa de Amistad, an organization serving the Hispanic community in South Bend, Indiana. Centellas says undocumented immigrants often find it easier to start their own companies than to get a job in a factory.

Centellas says it's wrong to deport men like Beristain, who had no criminal record.

"There's nobody in the communities that's defending criminals and people who are threats to our neighborhoods," Centellas says. "But they're not doing that. They're going after a friendly family man like Roberto and deporting him, to a huge expense to the taxpayer."

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the average price for deporting someone like Beristain is about $11,000. But Centellas says the cost to the community is even greater.

"If a quarter of our community left, how many jobs would close?" he says. "How many restaurants would close? How many places would cease to operate? How many families would leave? Our schools would be empty. It would leave a huge hole in this community."

A deterrent effect 01:07

But James Carafano, a policy expert at the Heritage Foundation and a member of Mr. Trump's transition team says deporting people like Roberto Beristain can save money by deterring others from trying to cross into the U.S. illegally.

"So there's a cost to remove people," Carafano explains in the clip above. "But then there's also a cost to enforce the law. So if in removing people, you actually get greater compliance to the law and you have less people to deal with, then actually over the long term, you save a lot of money."

Carafano says it is not healthy for the U.S. to have a large number of people living here without authorization — and it is not good for the undocumented immigrants either.

"There are a lot of other people who truly are living in the shadows, who can't get a regular job, who are afraid of getting arrested if they come across a police officer because then they might get deported," Carafano says.

"And that's not a good way to live. Not in a country like America."

The videos above were edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger