By: Andrew Looker, Jr.
The left has raved about President Trump’s previous demand that Congress provide a $5.7 billion down payment for a border wall with Mexico. They have claimed that this price tag is too expensive for the United States. In fact, Nancy Pelosi once stated that “a wall, in my view, is an immorality. It’s the least effective way to protect the border and the most costly. I can’t think of any reason why anyone would think it’s a good idea – unless this has to do with something else”. However, the $5.7 billion that President Trump asked for was only about 0.11% of the total budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which was approximately $4.5 trillion. To put this into perspective, this payment would be analogous to a family with an annual income of $45,000 putting aside a mere $57 for a yard fence. Despite the Left’s claims, not only is a border wall affordable, but it is quite inexpensive in comparison to other forms of governmental spending and social activity. These programs include the Dream Act, the annual cost of illegal immigration itself, tax remittances, foreign aid, welfare, funds to sanctuary cities, funds from drug cartels, foreign military expenditures, and socialist programs such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
The DREAM Act would give a path to citizenship, work permits, and full access to various social welfare programs to millions of illegal immigrants brought to the United States when they were children. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate’s version of the DREAM Act would increase deficits by a net of $25.9 billion over the course of the next ten years.
Illegal immigration poses a significant cost to the United States each and every year. The Federation for American Immigration Reform found that illegal immigration cost the United States a total of $135 billion in 2016. Even when tax revenues and a minor increase of economic growth are considered, illegal immigration still cost this country a net of $116 billion that year alone.
There are also billions of dollars each year in tax remittances that foreign nationals living in the United States send to their relatives in their home countries. Between January and November 2017, there was a total of $26,167,000,000 in outgoing tax remittances from Mexican nationals living in the United States, constituting a 6.15% increase from the same period the prior year. In 2016, foreign nationals living in the United States sent $138 billion back to their home countries. This includes $28.1 billion in outgoing tax remittances from Mexican migrants, $15.4 billion from Chinese, $10.7 billion from Indians, $10.5 billion from Filipinos, $6.8 billion from Guatemalans, $6.7 billion from Vietnamese, $5.7 billion from Nigerians, $4.2 billion from Salvadorans, $4.1 billion from Dominicans, and $3.4 billion from Honduran migrants.
Foreign aid also poses a significant cost to the United States. In January 2019, House Democrats passed a bill that increased foreign aid by $12 billion more than President Trump requested to a total of over $54 billion, without any money for the border wall. Additionally, in December 2018, the State Department committed to sending $10.6 billion in foreign aid to Central America and Mexico. $4.6 billion was designated for Mexico, while the remaining $5.6 billion was for Central America.
Welfare payments cost far more than a border wall would. In Fiscal Year 2018, the Federal Government spent more on food stamps in one month than the $5.7 billion President Trump was seeking from Congress over the course of one year. More specifically, the cost of food stamps was $68,493,000,000 in FY 2018, or $5,892,000,000 per month. The monthly cost was $181,643,000 more than the precise $5,710,357,000 that the President was seeking for the wall. In other terms, these border wall funds are only 8.3% of the cost of one year of food stamps. Additionally, there was approximately $60 billion worth of fraudulent Medicaid payments between 2010 and 2015.
Sanctuary Cities that shield illegal immigrants from federal immigration enforcement receive billions of dollars in taxpayer funds every year. In Fiscal Year 2016, $26.74 billion in federal grants were funneled to the 106 sanctuary cities that existed at that period of time. As a reminder, Sanctuary cities are jurisdictions where local officials harbor illegal aliens and do not cooperate with ICE officials when they seek to enforce federal immigration law regarding deportations.
American officials seized $14 billion worth of assets from Mexican drug lord El Chapo when he was taken into custody. Senator Ted Cruz has written a bill that would relocate these funds to the construction of a border wall.
The cost of the border wall is only a fraction of the vast expenditures on overseas military operations. U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have cost U.S. taxpayers a cumulative $5.9 trillion since 2001, according to a recent report from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University.
Finally, a $5.7 billion down payment for the border wall is microscopic in comparison to the socialist programs that far-left politicians have recently been promoting, such as “Medicare for All” and the “Green New Deal”. “Medicare for All” would cost the American taxpayer an astounding $32.6 trillion over a ten year period, according to a recent analysis conducted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Additionally, a Power the Future report found that the “Green New Deal” would cost an astronomical $49.109 trillion in its first decade. Furthermore, the American Action Forum found that its investment and regulatory costs alone would total $6.7 trillion. Finally, the American Action Forum estimated the cost of the Green New Deal at $93 trillion over the course of ten years, costing the average household $600,000.
In light of this evidence, it is clear that the $5.7 billion down payment for the border wall is miniscule in comparison to the cost of numerous other forms of government spending, far-left wish list proposals, and even illegal immigration. It is important that politicians set aside their ideological commitment to open borders, as well as their misguided spending priorities, and vote to construct a border wall for the safety, security, and sovereignty of the United States.