George Will Can`t Count—Deportation No Problema

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Bush Should Give—But Won`t

The supposed physical impossibility of

11 million illegal aliens has been

often mentioned
of late.

George Will
may have invented this theme with his
comment that:

"We are not going to take the draconian police
measures necessary to deport 11 million people. They
would fill 200,000 buses in a caravan stretching
bumper-to-bumper from San Diego to Alaska-where, by the
way, 26,000 Latinos live. And there are no plausible
incentives to get the 11 million to board the buses
.” [Guard
the Borders — And Face Facts, Too
, By George F.
Will, March 30, 2006]

Of course,

 just deported around

the same number of illegals
, adjusted for
population. And the U.S. deported around 1 million
illegals back in the

with a just 700 agents (see Handbook
of Texas Online:


But let`s focus on the logistics. Filling 200,000
buses sounds like a lot. However, America is a big
country and our transportation system is huge.

For example, the

intercity bus system
carries 774 million passengers
annually (see

The Subcommittee on Highways, Transit & Pipelines
Hearing on Transit & Over-The-Road Bus Security
That works out to be 2.12 million passengers per day.

At that rate it would take just a bit more than 5
days to remove the
entire illegal alien population.

Of course, some illegals

live quite close to the border
and could probably be
deported even faster. Other, say those in

, might take somewhat longer. Still, five days
really isn`t that long a period of time.

We also have a large

airline industry
. In 2005, it carried 745.7 million
passengers (Bureau
of Transportation Statistics
) or around 2.04 million
passengers daily. Using just our airlines, around
between five and six days would be enough to clear out
the illegal aliens.

But if we did the obvious—use both airlines and
buses—we could deport four million illegals daily and
thus deport the

alien population
in less than three days.

In real life, no possible solution to the illegal
alien problem would ever contemplate using our entire
bus or airline systems for transportation.

However, what is clear is that the problem is easily
manageable if the U.S. wanted to solve it.

Consider that if we used the 1950s border patrol
approach, if each of our roughly 10,000 agents could
deport one illegal alien per day, 2.5 million would be
deported annually.

By the time word got out that an aggressive
deportation policy had been implemented, the
overwhelming majority (75-90%) of

remove themselves.

That could translate into finishing the job in one
short year.


lightning-fast deportation
is the right approach is
another matter.

But whatever policy is ultimately adopted, the basic
issue of practicality, despite the comments of

and others, should not be in doubt.

“An Economist”