How Trump’s border wall will pay for itself by cutting welfare costs to undocumented immigrants

Amid the debate over who’ll pay for a planned wall on the southern border, there’s a very real possibility the barrier will pay for itself.

At least, that’s according to the New York Post’s Paul Sperry, who said this can be achieved “by closing the border to illegal immigrants who tend to go on the federal dole.”

Sperry points to recent immigration studies that shows President Donald Trump’s $18 billion wall will pay for itself “by curbing the importation of not only crime and drugs, but poverty.”

(GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)

“The wall could pay for itself even if it only modestly reduced illegal crossings and drug smuggling,” claimed Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies

Homeland Security forecasts 1.7 million illegal crossings at the southern border in the next decade without a wall, and Camarota told The Post that if a wall “stopped just 200,000 of those future crossings … it would pay for itself in fiscal savings from welfare, public education, refundable tax credits and other benefits currently given to low-income, illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America,” Sperry wrote.

Increase the number stopped to 50 percent and American taxpayers would save “a whopping 64 billion — almost four times the wall’s cost,” he adds.

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Camarota noted that illegal immigrants tend to be low skilled and poorly educated, resulting in greater dependence on social services.

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Camarota explains that illegal border-crossers from Mexico and Central America — who account for more than 75 percent of the illegal immigrant population in the US — are overwhelmingly poor, uneducated and lack English language and other skills. In fact, the average Latino illegal immigrant has less than a 10th-grade education. That means if they work, they tend to make low wages; and as a result pay relatively little in taxes while using public services. And if they have children while in the US, they more often than not receive welfare benefits on behalf of those US-born children, who have the same welfare eligibility as any other citizen.

 

“A large share of the welfare used by immigrant households is received on behalf of their US-born children,” Camarota said. “This is especially true of households headed by illegal immigrants.”

He dispels the myth propagated by the media that illegal immigrants don’t go on welfare.

“There is simply no question that households headed by illegal immigrants access a good deal of welfare,” the CIS director added. “In fact, illegal immigrants’ use of some programs is quite high.”

A claim confirmed by the US Census Bureau, which, according to Sperry, shows in a recent survey 62 percent of illegal-immigrant-headed households are on the federal dole — that is double the rate for households headed by native-born Americans.

The data shows food stamps and Medicaid costs being the highest, but Sperry said there are other costs, such as an Emergency Medicaid program that covers the cost of treating adult illegal immigrants who can’t pay their bills.

The IRS also pays out billions to illegal immigrants in refundable child tax credits and the earned income tax credit, Camarota noted.

Democrats complain about the estimated $18 billion price tag for a border wall, but Camarota said passing a bill legalizing so-called “Dreamers” would cost taxpayers even more.

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“The cost of the DREAM Act has been estimated as very large — a $26 billion net cost in the first 10 years,” Camarota said, pointing to expenses like ObamaCare subsidies, Medicaid benefits, earned-income and child-tax credits, and food stamps.

All of which means, when do we start construction on that darn wall!

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