A Border Wall: Is it Worth It?

Discussions of the practicality, need for, and cost of the proposed border wall are ongoing, even if they are not the hot “topic-of-the-day” right now. Political distractions make us concentrate on other issues, but — make no mistake — even if those border wall conversations are not front and center, they are ongoing.

Chief in these discussions is the cost of illegal immigration to Americans. There are heretofore credible individuals and groups who make the claim that illegal immigrants — because of their working in the U.S. and paying federal, state, and local taxes while here — more than pay for any costs to taxpayers. In many cases, those claims have been simply accepted simply because it sounds somewhat plausible. Those illegal immigration supporters have never offered any statistical proof of their claims. But now there are facts of the “net” costs of illegal immigration to the U.S., and even though many illegals do contribute to the nation financially through taxes and through their spending, there is NO net financial plus for their being here. In fact, the truth is far from that.

Let’s push this conversation forward with facts and drop all conjecture. The Centers for Immigration Studies (CIS) exhaustively researches all things immigration-related and a few months ago shared a portion of their current statistical analysis of illegal immigration costs, the fiscal viability of a proposed border wall, and significant other details of immigration’s impact on U.S. taxpayers. Immediately below you will find a synopsis of some CIS research. At the bottom of this report, I am attaching the full report for any to download and use personally or in your immigration conversations with others.

Illegal immigration in the U.S. is front and center during this national political season as we ramp up for the 2018 mid-terms. When taking political positions on every important issue, it is critical for Americans to be armed with facts. Not knowing something doesn’t mean someone is stupid. Not knowing something and doing nothing to get the facts IS being stupid! Let’s look at FACTS:

The “Findings”

The findings of this analysis show that if a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs 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, illegal border-crossers create an average fiscal burden of approximately $74,722 during their lifetimes, excluding any costs for their U.S.-born children. If a border wall stopped between 160,000 and 200,000 illegal crossers — 9 to 12 percent of those expected to successfully cross in the next decade — the fiscal savings would equal the $15 to $25 billion cost of the wall.

Among the findings:

  • There is agreement among researchers that illegal immigrants overwhelmingly have modest levels of education — most have not completed high school or have only a high school education.
  • There is also agreement that immigrants who come to America with modest levels of education create significantly more in costs for government than they pay in taxes.
  • A recent NAS study estimated the lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) of immigrants by education. Averaging the cost estimates from that study and combining them with the education levels of illegal border-crossers shows a net fiscal drain of $74,722 per illegal crosser.
  • The above figures are only for the original illegal immigrants and do not include any costs for their U.S.- born descendants. If we use the NAS projections that include the descendants, the fiscal drain for border-crossers grows to $94,391 each.
  • If a border wall prevented 160,000 to 200,000 illegal crossings (excluding descendants) in the next 10 years it would be enough to pay for the estimated costs of the wall.
  • 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.
  • In addition to crossing the border surreptitiously, aliens join the illegal population primarily by overstaying a temporary visa. A southern border wall would not address this part of the illegal flow.
  • A large share of the net fiscal cost of illegal immigrants is at the state and local level, not the federal level. The costs of building the wall will be borne by the federal government.
  • To create its long-term fiscal estimates for immigrants by education level, the NAS uses the concept of “net present value” (NPV). This concept, which is commonly used by economists, has the effect of reducing the size of the net fiscal drain that unskilled immigrants will create in the future.
  • The NAS does this because costs or benefits years from now are valued less in economics relative to more immediate costs. But this means the actual net lifetime fiscal cost of illegal border-crossers, given their education levels, is possibly $140,000 to $150,000 each in their lifetimes if the NPV concept is not used.


Wow! I knew illegal immigrant costs had to be extensive, just because of the personal costs of living in the U.S. my family sustains. These numbers — if they continue at current levels — are staggering.

Here’s the most important factor for Truth News Network followers: Democrats are making illegal immigration almost their entire 2018 election platform. Why? They have no other story to tell that could possibly result in Congressional, state, and local victories at the polls. They currently have the mystery of illegal immigration costs in their favor. Democrats are good at messaging — even if their messages are partially or totally untrue. In this case, the stories being sold by Democrats and other liberals to all who will listen regarding the tremendous benefits to the U.S. of having open borders are patently false in total!

Please download the .pdf of the NAS study. It includes not only complete statistics, it documents their findings and conclusions with sourcing explanations. FACTS ARE GOING TO BE MANDATORY FOR AMERICANS TO MAKE INFORMED ELECTION CHOICES!



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