A new analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies finds that even if the proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico prevents only a small fraction of the anticipated number of illegal immigrants predicted from crossing the border over the next few years, the government savings from having fewer illegal immigrants to take care of would be enough to cover the cost of the wall.
This analysis takes the likely education level of illegal border-crossers and applies fiscal estimates developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) for immigrants by education level. NAS calculates the future fiscal balance immigrants create — taxes paid minus costs. NAS reports fiscal balances as “net present values,” which places a lower value on future expenditures than on current expenditures.
Based on the NAS data, criminally trespassing aliens cost the government (read: American taxpaers) approximately $74,722 over the course their lifetimes (not counting the costs of any children they give birth to in the U.S.)
Now if the proposed border wall stopped between 160,000 and 200,000 illegal crossers (which represents only 9% to 12% of the projected number over the next ten years), the savings to the government would be $12 to $15 billion. The entire $18 billion cost of the wall would be covered in 12 to 15 years.
Newly released research by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) done for the Department of Homeland Security indicates that 170,000 illegal immigrants crossed the border successfully without going through a port of entry in 2015. While a significant decline in crossings from a decade ago, it still means that there may be 1.7 million successful crossings in the next decade. If a wall stopped just 9 to 12 percent of these crossings it would pay for itself.
If a wall stopped half of those expected to successfully enter illegally without going through a port of entry at the southern border over the next 10 years, it would save taxpayers nearly $64 billion — several times the wall’s cost.
Cross posted at The Lid