President Trump called on Democrats in a tweet on Tuesday to vote to fund his proposed border wall, saying the project would pay “for itself in two months.”
“Our Country losses 250 Billion Dollars a year on illegal immigration,” Trump falsely claimed in the tweet.
Could somebody please explain to the Democrats (we need their votes) that our Country losses 250 Billion Dollars a year on illegal immigration, not including the terrible drug flow. Top Border Security, including a Wall, is $25 Billion. Pays for itself in two months. Get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2018
“I’m not sure where the president got his numbers,” said Dave Ray, a spokesman for the nonprofit group FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for lower immigration numbers.
The Heritage Foundation, estimated in 2013 that households headed by undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. impose a net fiscal burden of around $54.5 billion per year.
The Associated Press notes that Trump himself has contradicted the $250 billion figure.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump claimed that illegal immigration cost the country more than $113 billion a year, half of the amount he claimed on Tuesday.
Michelle Mittelstadt, of the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, cautioned that advocacy groups’ numbers on both sides of the issue are notoriously flawed because “they don’t look at the other side of the ledger.”
“Doing a rigorous analysis that fully captures costs and economic contributions to come up with a net fiscal impact is quite complicated, because it is far easier to assess the cost side of the ledger, particularly uncompensated medical care and education, than it is to capture the full economic activity generated by unauthorized immigrants,” she said via email, pointing to “their roles not just as workers and taxpayers but also as consumers.”
Trump’s presidential campaign got off to an explosive start in June 2015 when he used incendiary language in announcing plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” he claimed at the time.
Now Trump is attempting to pressure Democrats to fund his long-promised southern border wall.
The Hill notes:
Trump’s appeal to Democrats comes ahead of a homeland security spending fight to avoid a partial government shutdown originally slated for Friday.
The House had previously passed a bill that included $5 billion for border security, but the Senate version included less than $2 billion. Trump has indicated he won’t sign a bill that includes less than $5 billion earmarked for the wall.
Senate Republicans, including some Trump allies, have expressed public reluctance to play chicken on a potential shutdown over border security, making it less likely that they’ll push for the total $25 billion Trump is requesting.