Among the reasons cited in opposition to President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico is the cost. But if “cost” is the only reason to refrain from building a wall, it could be an example of being penny-wise while pound foolish.
The truth is that the cost of building the wall is far less than the cost of continuing to allow illegal immigrants to flood into the country. For several years, we have been told that the number of illegal aliens in the country is around 11 million. Recent studies have refuted that low number, setting the number as over 20 million. One of every five babies born in the United States during 2014 was to an immigrant, legal or illegal.
The cost of paying for the nearly 300,000 children born to illegal-immigrant women living in the United States was $2.4 billion in 2014 alone, which is $800 million more than the Senate has approved for the border wall this year and, if spent every year, could pay for the entire wall in 10 years.
And that’s not all: The total bill for childbirth and early childcare for illegal and legal immigrants combined is an astounding $5.3 billion per year. This would pay for the wall in less than five years.
One of the deceptions often used in the immigration debate is claiming that illegal aliens contribute more to our economy than they take out, especially, the argument goes, since they are not eligible to receive welfare benefits. But a report from the Center for Immigration Studies explains why this is a false picture: “Medicaid will pay for a delivery in almost all cases if the mother is uninsured or has a low income, though some mothers without insurance may not even realize the program has paid health care providers. Illegal immigrants and most new legal immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid, but the program will still cover the cost of delivery and post-partum care for these mothers for at least a few months.”
The estimated 28,000 births to illegal aliens in the Los Angeles metropolitan area alone is more than the total number of births in 14 states plus the District of Columbia. Illegal-immigrant births account for one in seven births in Los Angles, Las Vegas, San Jose, Dallas, and Houston. Taxpayers are handed the bill for somewhere between two-thirds and three-fourths of these births.
States most affected by this problem are California, Nevada, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Texas. Demographic changes brought on by immigration have caused California to flip from a Republican-leaning state to a deep blue Democrat one, and threaten to do the same to Georgia and even Texas (which helps explain why Senator Ted Cruz is not running away with the race in his reelection bid).
This brings us back to the question of fiscal opposition to Trump’s wall. Many strongly suspect that opposition to the wall on the grounds of “cost” is just a ruse. Democrats usually are not all that concerned with the budgetary impact of their spending proposals, so we can safely conclude that they do not want the wall built for other reasons, primarily that they see newer immigrants — legal or illegal — as increasing the numbers dependent upon government programs, thus creating more likely Democrat voters.
Perhaps Democrats oppose the wall not because they view it as too expensive — they would oppose it even if it cost nothing — but rather because they fear it would reduce the number of illegal aliens.
There are some, of course, who oppose the building of the wall because they believe it would be ineffective, arguing that people could simply dig under the wall or climb over it. After all, there were some who made it from East Berlin to West Berlin during the days of the Berlin Wall, despite the presence of guards with machine guns, German shepherd dogs, and barbed wire on top of the fence. But the truth is that many times more East Berliners would have gone into West Berlin without a wall.
The wall is just one tool that could be used along with other measures, such as security cameras and more border guards.
A more serious argument against the wall is that expressed by former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who said that a wall can keep people in as well as keep people out. Whatever we do, we do not want to infringe on the rights of American citizens to leave the country when they so desire, or take property away from farmers on the border, without just compensation.
But the argument that the wall is too expensive is not a good one when one stacks it up against the costs of illegal immigration.