Immigration

$28B Annual Price Tag for Sealing the Border

Big bucks to keep people out

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Last year President Obama spent $11.7 billion on security at the U.S.-Mexico border—more than any of his predecessors, according to the Migration Policy Institute. That big of an investment might make you think illegal immigrants were storming the 2,000-mile stretch of desert that separates Texas and California from Mexico, but in fact, the opposite is true. The net migration between the U.S. and Mexico last year was zero, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Roughly 150,000 people, both illegal and legal, arrived in the U.S. from Mexico, and about the same number left the U.S. to return home.

There's a big disconnect between those facts and the immigration debate that's going on in Congress right now. Democrats say they want to continue spending record amounts on immigration enforcement as part of a deal that would give citizenship to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S. Republicans—including Senator Marco Rubio, who's leading charge on immigration reform for his party—say they won't consider an immigration proposal unless the U.S. spends whatever it takes to seal the border 100 percent.