As the Trump administration attempts to pass bills to secure our borders, we will wait for the order to federal agents to round up the 11-15 million illegals to be placed in deportation centers. That was a centerpiece of his campaign.

If you enter the United States illegally, you can be convicted under the federal law 8 U.S.C. § 1325, which could mean prison for 6 months on a first offense, up to two years for a second one. If that doesn’t happen, and as President Elect Trump has stated that he may deal with illegals after the border is secure, seemingly walking back deportation, the prospect of creating a path to legal status increases. 

The Cost to Deport

Using federal agents from all agencies to march into schools and drag out Latino children, to send them to hijacked courthouses, staffed with newly hired judges, public defenders, and court reporters, is inhumane and simply not cost effective.

When the Trump Administration “runs the numbers”, they will see a deportation cost of over $400 billion flip into trillions of lifetime revenue dollars from newly created taxpayers. This net positive position is touted by liberals and is at odds with the conservative Heritage Foundation, which has had conflicting reports in 1986 and 2013 as to the impact of the undocumented worker on the economy. 

As senator Lindsey Graham stated, “We’re not going to deport 11 million people and their legal citizen children.”

Secure the Border

There’s no doubt the Trump Administration will want to have a single bill to build a wall, buy newer drones, and add ICE agents. The risk is undocumented workers may feel like they’re being imprisoned and not have the trust to come forward to register for legal status. Democrats will most likely insist on some type of simultaneous implementation of a comprehensive bill. 

Reagan Amnesty

When his law went into effect, the apprehensions for undocumented workers went down to 1,615,854 in 86’, 1,122,067 in 87’, and 940,670 in 88’. This was due to strong employer sanctions.

But the program was short-lived and had issues. Immigrant’s didn’t trust the system and were late to the party. Some had problems finding documents to prove their original entry dates. Some were afraid outstanding traffic tickets might disqualify them from the program.

Even though this law did not address border security, Reagan did implement “Operation Alliance,” which sent large numbers of federal agents and resources to the border to thwart drug trafficking. Reagan’s immigration law “worked,” according to his INS Commissioner Alan C. Nelson.

What’s in a Name?

“If you want to scare the American people, what you say is the bill’s an amnesty bill,” said George W. Bush. “That’s empty political rhetoric trying to frighten our citizens.” 

In 2007, the Bush Administration Immigration bill met defeat at the hands of his own party. In 2013, the bi-partisan “Gang of Eight Bill,” which would have upped ICE agents to 20,000, passed the Senate and didn’t even get a vote in the House. Trump wants to add 15,000 ICE agents, so maybe the 1,200 page “Gang Of Eight” bill can be dusted off and condensed?

There’s plenty of common ground to draft the bill for 2017.

Technology is the Key

There’s no reason a set of linked or triggered bills can be passed to secure the border and register undocumented workers simultaneously, thus creating trust on both sides.

New apps and systems to advertise, educate, and begin to enroll undocumented workers online and via smart phone apps, can be implemented as border control agents use new technology on upgraded smarter drones, motion sensor cameras, and satellites, all of which can be monitored by a command and control center at DHS. Technology, largely ignored in previous immigration bills, can help solve this issue if Silicon Valley is only consulted.

A poll showed 70 percent of Americans agree with legal status, and as favored by most modern day Republican Presidents, it’s time we took this issue off the table for both parties.

Dan Clements, founder of and, is a Compassionate Technologist with other successful online startups in Identity Theft and Cyber Intelligence.