Building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is not just vital for border security—it’s also one of the smartest financial investments Washington could make.
The Democrats want you to believe that President Trump’s border wall is prohibitively expensive, even arguing that a wall is unnecessary because the President “manufactured” the illegal immigration crisis. They could not be more wrong.
Look at it this way: The president is asking for $5.7 billion to begin construction on a border structure. The United States budget for 2019 alone exceeds $4.4 trillion. Meaning the ask represents ONE-TENTH OF ONE PERCENT of our 2019 spending.
The fact is, even if the $5.7 billion border wall succeeds in stopping just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who enter the country each year, it would actually save taxpayers more money than it cost to build within a relatively short period of time.
In his recent Oval Office address to the nation, Trump noted that the cost of illegal drugs “exceeds $500 billion a year,” which is “vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress.”
While we can’t estimate the exact impact a lengthy physical barrier might have on the illegal drug trade, the Center for Immigration Studies concluded in 2016 that the wall “would sharply interdict this trade and save untold lives.”
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the wall will only reduce the flow of drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border by 5 percent. Given that the annual cost of illegal drugs is around $500 billion, even that minimal impact would save taxpayers a whopping $25 billion in the first year alone—almost four times the amount President Trump is requesting from Congress.
Even if the wall makes nothing more than a miniscule 1 percent dent in the narcotics trade, it would still save taxpayers about $5 billion in one year. Now that’s what you call value for money.
Some in the mainstream media have argued that a border wall would do little to stop the flow of illegal drugs, since most drugs enter the country through ports of entry or official border crossings, but that line of reasoning neglects to account for the tangential benefits of physical border barriers.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, the wall or fence or structure will allow immigration officials to focus more of their resources on ports of entry instead of manually patrolling vast stretches of unprotected border.
Combating the drug trade is hardly the only financial benefit offered by the border wall President Trump has proposed, though.
According to a 2017 report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers approximately$116 billion every year, or $8,075 per migrant, through their consumption of various federal benefits.
While it’s impossible to know exactly how many illegal immigrants evade apprehension, law enforcement officials estimate that we only catch about 20-25 percent of those who attempt to cross our border illegally, which would mean that one million or more slip past our enforcement agents every year.
If the wall succeeds in reducing the flow of illegal aliens by just 5 percent, the annual financial burden of illegal immigration would decrease by about $400 million—enough to offset most of President Trump’s $5.7 billion request within a single decade.
There’s good reason to believe that the wall would be significantly more effective than that, though, so the savings could potentially be much greater. A survey of border patrol agents conducted last year found that 89 percent of them believe that a “wall system in strategic locations is necessary to securing the border.”
Unsurprisingly, the head of the U.S. Border Patrol also strongly supports building the wall, and recently urged Democrats to stop obstructing the President’s effort. “We certainly do need a wall,” Chief Carla Provost said last month. “Talk to any border agent and they will tell you that.”
President Trump is right: the border wall he is proposing would pay for itself, and then some, in a remarkably short amount of time. Even based on the most conservative estimates of its effectiveness, a proper physical barrier would end up saving taxpayers far more money each year than it costs.
It’s time for the Democrats to end their senseless obstruction of President Trump’s efforts to address the illegal immigration crisis and honor his request to secure our border. It’s good policy that will save lives and will pay for itself by saving taxpayers billions of dollars annually.
Eric Thomas Bolling is an American television personality, author, and financial and conservative political commentator.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.