We’ve all seen the financial estimates. If President Donald Trump isn’t able to get Mexico to pony up the funds to build a southern border wall, construction and maintenance could cost the taxpayers as much as $15 billion. Trump himself has said that those figures should be disregarded – that he will negotiate the price down to a much more manageable sum.
But even if the price stands as some estimates conclude, a new report suggests that the wall would ultimately pay for itself. The Center for Immigration Studies ran an analysis that found that even if the wall was moderately successful in stopping illegal immigrants, it would have a net-beneficial impact on the wallet of the American taxpayer.
This analysis takes the likely education level of illegal border-crossers and applies fiscal estimates developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) for immigrants by education level. NAS calculates the future fiscal balance immigrants create — taxes paid minus costs. NAS reports fiscal balances as “net present values”, which places a lower value on future expenditures than on current expenditures.
Based on the NAS data, illegal border-crossers create an average fiscal burden of approximately $74,722 during their lifetimes, excluding any costs for their U.S.-born children. If a border wall stopped between 160,000 and 200,000 illegal crossers — 9 to 12 percent of those expected to successfully cross in the next decade — the fiscal savings would equal the $12 to $15 billion cost of the wall.
According to the study, illegal immigrants crossing over by way of the land border rarely have even a high school education. They may work once they have arrived in the U.S., but they are not skilled enough to get jobs that pay enough to sustain room and board. Thus, they become dependent on the welfare system, costing taxpayers a fortune throughout their lives. In many cases, they have children, who often continue this cycle of dependency into the next generation.
It’s something to keep in mind the next time Democrats start talking about the cost of the wall. Yes, it will be expensive as hell. Guess what? That’s the price of national security – to say nothing about America’s economic security, which goes hand in hand. What we can no longer afford is to let illegal immigrants stream into our country unabated. That cost – one that grows with every passing year – may not show up in the headlines, but it is killing the U.S. slowly but surely.