by Rocco J. Piserchia
January 11, 2019
Government often proposes solutions to very real problems created by government. Such is the case with President Trump’s plan to build a wall on the border between Mexico and the USA. The federal government has refused to enforce existing immigration laws for decades which has resulted in massive illegal immigration with terrible consequences. Is a wall along the entire US Mexican border the solution?
The Catastrophic Problem of Illegal Immigration
For at least the last 14 years the public has been told that there are 11 to 12.5 million illegal aliens in the USA. MIT published a study in 2018 that estimated a more realistic number of illegal aliens would be 22 million. One researcher in 2007 named James H. Walsh estimated there were 40 million illegal aliens residing in the US. The actual number of illegal aliens is difficult to precisely define due to different research criteria coupled with the political motivation to minimize the problem.
The economic cost of widespread immigration, including illegal immigration, is largely ignored by the MSM (main stream media). One study by the Heritage Foundation determined the average annual cost to each taxpayer is $19,588. Consider the increased costs of government education and other government funded services absorbed by illegal aliens. Furthermore the labor market like any other market is subject to to supply and demand. When a nation is flooded with illegal alien workers, legal workers are displaced. This also drives down wages as more workers are available to fill jobs.
The problem of crime caused by illegal aliens is widespread. Once again the MSM ignores or underplays the pervasive problem of illegal alien crime. MSM reporters refuse to even use the phrase “illegal alien” and prefer undocumented worker. Of course the act of illegally entering the USA is a misdemeanor in and of itself. Illegal aliens then commit a felony when they use bogus social security numbers and falsify other documents in order to work. Crimes committed by illegal aliens are a serious and systemic problem.
“…The first report found that criminal aliens, both legal and illegal, make up 27 percent of all federal prisoners. Yet non-citizens are only about nine percent of the nation’s adult population. Thus, judging by the numbers in federal prisons alone, non-citizens commit federal crimes at three times the rate of citizens… The 2011 GAO report is more of the same. The criminal histories of 251,000 criminal aliens showed that they had committed close to three million criminal offenses. Sixty-eight percent of those in federal prison and 66 percent of those in state prisons were from Mexico. Their offenses ranged from homicide and kidnapping to drugs, rape, burglary, and larceny. Once again, these statistics are not fully representative of crimes committed by illegal aliens — this report only reflects the criminal histories of aliens who were in prison. If there were a way to include all crimes committed by criminal aliens, the numbers would likely be higher since prosecutors often drop criminal charges against an illegal alien if immigration authorities will deport the alien. The GAO reports also highlight another flaw in using survey data from a national sample. A key factor highlighted in the GAO reports is that criminal aliens from Mexico disproportionately make up incarcerations and that most arrests are made in the three border states of California, Texas, and Arizona….” [Source]
Candidate Trump on the Wall
Then candidate Donald J. Trump vociferously and repeatedly promoted building a wall along the entire southern border to help solve the problem of illegal immigration. Trump then and now has not discussed why existing immigration laws are not enforced. The impression is made that enforcing immigration laws can’t be done apart from construction of the wall. Such an assertion is false as the Eisenhower administration deported 1.3 million illegal aliens via Operation Wetback.
Trump was also insistent that Mexico would pay for the wall that would be built.
Candidate Trump asserted that Mexico would pay for 100% of the cost of the wall and construction would begin immediately after he took office.
During a GOP presidential primary debate Trump was asked how Mexico would pay for the wall. Trump did not answer the question then and still has yet to explain how Mexico would pay for the wall.
To date: Mexico has paid nothing for the wall, the US Congress has allocated no funds to build the wall and no construction has commenced for it. Candidate Trump also promised there would be no amnesty, i.e., no illegal aliens would be granted citizenship.
After he was elected Trump then proposed amnesty for nearly 800,000 DACA illegal aliens in exchange for border security which would have included $25 billion for the wall. Trump then increased his amnesty proposal to include 1.8 million illegal aliens under the guise of DACA. That deal never transpired and the wall was not funded.
The Cost of the Wall
The entire border between Mexico and the USA is about 1950 miles. Approximately 650 miles along the border now has fencing 18 feet high. Candidate Trump said the wall could be built across the entire border for $10 billion. The firm of Bernstein Research estimated the expenditure would be between $15 and $25 billion not including the cost to acquire the private land on the US side of the border via eminent domain. DHS estimated $21.6 billion in February of 2017. Democratic Senate staffers released an estimate of up to $70 billion. In a deal that never transpired, President Trump requested $25 billion for the wall in exchange for granting amnesty to a minimum of 1.8 million illegal aliens.
The current partial federal government shut down was precipitated by the President’s demand that Congress allocate $5 billion for the wall. However even if Trump no longer desires to build a wall across the entire 1950 mile border, $5 billion would only cover 215 miles. Furthermore Congress authorized $4.8 billion in aid for Mexico and $5.8 billion to central American countries [source].
Misguided activists in support of the wall have contributed over $20 million as part of a goal to raise $1 billion. Even if $1 billion was raised this would only cover approximately 43 miles based on the previously cited figure that $5 billion would only build 215 miles of the wall. Such activists are misguided not merely due to the actual cost of constructing the wall but also due to the nature of government. When politicians fail to keep their campaign promises citizens should not encourage their lack of integrity by donating to the state. Donating to the government would be immoral even if the public was not already burdened by oppressive taxation. “In 2018, Americans will pay $3.4 trillion in federal taxes and $1.8 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total bill of $5.2 trillion, or 30 percent of the nation’s income. Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2018 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined” [source]
Effective No Cost Solutions to Permanently Stop Illegal Immigration
Real solutions to permanently end the vast majority of illegal immigration would cost US taxpayers nothing to implement. The US federal government lets Mexico operate at least 45 consulates in the USA. These US based Mexican consulates primarily exist to foster illegal immigration by issuing Matricula Consular cards to illegal aliens. Some critics of the Matricula Consular card object to this form of identification because it may be easily forged in the US. However the primary objection to the Matricula Consular card is that it does not prove that the card holder is in the USA legally. One of three documents are required for non US citizens to legally work in the USA: A Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card), an employment Authorization Document (work permit), or an employment-related visa which allows you to work for a particular employer.
If the Republicans in Congress as well as President Trump seriously wanted to end illegal immigration it could be done very quickly. The following measures would terminate the vast majority of illegal immigration without incurring any cost to the US. 1.) Close most or all Mexican consulates. 2.) Enact a law that makes the Matricula Consular card the equivalent of what it is in Mexico, namely it could not be used as a legal form of identification. In particular a federal law could be passed that would prohibit all banks and financial institutions from accepting the Matricula Consular card as a valid form of identification. 3.) Mandate that any non US citizen who desires to open a bank account would have to present a valid foreign passport and a green card, work permit or employment related visa. 4.) Impose a mandatory tax or surcharge of 90% on all wire transfers out of the USA from non citizens unless the sender has a valid foreign passport and a green card, work permit or employment related visa. “Migrants” from Latin America and the Caribbean wire transferred over $69 billion in 2016. In 2012 all migrants in the USA, not just from Latin America, wire transferred over $120 billion. It’s also important that none of these proposals would involve expanding the police state. If these recommendations were adopted illegal aliens would peacefully self deport.