Immigration

9 Numbers To Remember While Watching Trump’s Immigration Speech

An immigration primer about the figures that matter. And the ones that Trump makes up.

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Xinhua/Sipa USA/Newscom

President Donald Trump will take eight minutes of your time this evening to talk about the slowly unfolding crisis at the southern border in Washington, D.C., as the government shutdown concludes its 18th day without any end in sight.

Will Trump declare the lack of a physical barrier along the United States' border with Mexico to be a national emergency? Some of his top advisers reportedly say that's not the plan—but, well, in this administration that only means so much. It's also possible that Trump could use the occasion to flog the necessity of comprehensive immigration reform, boosting the chances that aide de camp Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence can strike a deal they've reportedly been working to reach with Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Regardless of what Trump says tonight, though, his track record suggests there will be exaggerations aplenty—and probably a few outright lies—about his plans for a wall, how much it will cost, whether it will stop illegal immigrants from entering the country, and just how many of them there are here in the first place.

In an attempt to keep you ahead of the curve, here are a few important numbers—both real and fake—to know before Trump opens his yap tonight.

$5.7 billion. This is the most important number. It's the amount of money the White House is currently asking Congress to appropriate for the construction of a "steel barrier" along the border. The price tag for Trump's wall has changed quite a bit over the past three years. When running for president, of course, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Last year, the White House sought $25 billion, then dropped the ask to $18 billion and eventually to $15 billion. Taxpayers should be thankful that Trump likely negotiated himself out of a much higher spending total, since Congress was willing to give Trump the full $25 billion last year in exchange for immigration reform—but the dealmaker-in-chief dismissed that plan as "massive amnesty."

234 miles. That is the length of the steel barrier that the White House says could be built with $5.7 billion. That's roughly 12 percent of the 1,950 mile land border with Mexico.

$24.3 million. This is the per-mile cost of the proposed steel barrier. Sure, that's a lot less expensive, per mile, than building a subway in Manhattan, but it's still pretty expensive. For comparison's sake, it costs about $1.25 million to repair a mile of four-lane highway (remember Infrastructure Week?). For an even better comparison, a four-mile stretch of border wall recently built in El Paso, Texas, cost $22 million total. Trump's wall isn't just coming up short, but it appears to be over cost already.

$59.8 billion. This is the estimated price tag for The Wall, according to Alex Nowrasteh, senior immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute. Nowrasteh reached that figure by allowing for a 50 percent cost overrun (a conservative estimate; the average government infrastructure project runs 3.3 times over-budget), and by assuming the Trump administration would eventually want to construct a barrier along the remaining 1,637 miles of Mexican border not covered by pedestrian fencing. This does not include maintenance costs.

6. That is the number of non-U.S. citizens listed on terror watch lists who were apprehended at the southern border since October of last year. Trump has repeatedly, and falsely, claimed that nearly 4,000 terrorists have been caught coming across the border in the past year. Almost all of these so-called "special interest aliens," which includes plenty of people who are not suspected terrorists, were caught at airports and various other points of entry. For more on the Trump administration's misleading rhetoric about terrorists pouring over the border from Mexico, read Matt Welch's piece here.

235,000. This is the number of criminals that Trump has claimed have been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during the past two years. It's not exactly clear where this number is coming from—and it's possible Trump is pulling it out of thin air. It wouldn't be the first time that he's done that. As The Washington Post's Salvador Rizzo explained yesterday, it seems like Trump is muddling together several different totals that can't really be mixed together accurately. "If it's a tally of ICE administrative arrests, he's omitting that many of those are solely for immigration violations and not the dangerous crimes he portrays," Rizzo observed. "Looking at charges and convictions does not give a total for 'criminals,' because one individual may be facing multiple charges, as ICE notes in its yearly reports." And, of course, just because someone is arrested does not make that person a criminal.

67 percent. That is the estimated number of illegal immigrants who entered the United States legally and became illegal by overstaying their visas, according to data from the Center for Migration Studies. "A wall not only will do nothing to stop these people from entering, but it may actually incentivize more people to stick around without authorization," wrote David Bier, an immigration policy analyst for the Cato Institute, in a 2018 Reason cover story.

2,000. That is the number of illegal border-crossers that Trump has claimed the Border Patrol apprehends every day "at a minimum." During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, the Border Patrol reported 396,579 apprehensions. That's a little over 1,000 per day, but it includes arrests made at airports and border checkpoints—not exclusively those caught trying to sneak over the border, as Trump has tried to imply.

1.6 million. This is the number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border in 2000. That's four times as many as were caught last year, but somehow this counts as a crisis now?

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72 responses to “9 Numbers To Remember While Watching Trump’s Immigration Speech

  1. 1.6 million. This is the number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border in 2000. That’s four times as many as were caught last year, but somehow this counts as a crisis now?
    Yes, because Trump is running out of time to build a big, beautiful wall with his name on it.

    1. It was MORE of a crisis then… The difference was we had a shit bag in office, who was all about importing cheap foreign labor, and a new ethnic sub class to exploit politically.

  2. 90%+ of the media will lie… before, during, and after Trump makes a public speech.

    1. What’s your truthiness factor?

      loveconstitution1789|12.3.18 @ 10:20AM|#

      Do you need me to link the rules of NAFTA and USCMA so you can compare and contrast the “worseness” for us?

      1. What’s your truthiness factor?

        Can’t you read?

        90+%.

        ‘Truthiness’ IS lying.

    2. Poor troll and its malfunctioning script.

  3. Nearly 700 Miles of Fencing at the US-Mexico Border Already Exist

    But some 700 miles of border fencing had already been completed along the country’s nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico, much of it during Barack Obama’s presidency, as part of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was signed by George W. Bush.

    The type of fencing that extends from California to Texas varies according to the terrain and the population of the areas it borders, according to images released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2011. The types of fencing includes wire mesh, chain link, post and rail, sheet piling, concrete barriers for vehicles and X-shaped steel beams for livestock.

    1. Isn’t all of this existing fencing immoral? Where is the legislation to dismantle it? After all, we are told it doesn’t work either, so why spend any money to maintain it? What does Judge Napolitano think?

      1. I’m a real asshole. I’ve got chain link up around most of my house, and an eight foot tall wood fence around the rest of it.

    2. You do know that Trump has repeatedly said that fencing is insufficient, right?

      1. He’s repeatedly said that the type of “wall” that is appropriate for a given area varies… Which makes logical sense. In some places a burly wall might be practical to build and the most effective. On different topography a fence might be sufficient, or perhaps not that good, but the only thing financially viable as a proper wall would be too crazy expensive.

        That’s just kind of common sense…

    3. 0. The number of times I recall the left (or Reason) complaining about those 700 miles.

  4. 9 Numbers To Remember While Watching Trump’s Immigration Speech

    Wait. People actually watch it?

    1. I remember the last SOTU I watched. It was Clinton, and he told me that the “Era of Big Government was over!”

      1. Now that S.O.B.knew how to lie!

    2. Yeah, it’s not like in the old days when you had three channels and couldn’t escape the friggin’ thing.

  5. “Immigration is the Republicans’ clitoris”.

    —-Nick Gillespie (Circa 2016)

    That statement needs to be amended.

    Reason is apparently more obsessed with immigration than the average Republican ever was or ever could be.

    1. Plan B: Anarchists and Lefties have teamed up to destroy the United States of America via hordes of illegals to vote our Constitutional Democratic Republic into oblivion.

      Plan A: Allowing Boomers and Greatest Gen to bankrupt the USA via Social Security, Medicare, ObamaCare, and Medicaid. It might not work, so they are implementing Plan B above.

    2. You must be equally obsessed with both Nick AND immigration.

    3. Reason is apparently more obsessed with immigration than the average Republican ever was or ever could be.

      A shutdown precipitated by Republicans clinging to the position a wall is to be built, should be built, or both controverts that statement.

  6. My Fellow California’s voted for that stupid bullet train that will cost over 100 billion dollars, never be built, or at least no one will ride it, but let’s all feign outrage over $5 billion for a wall where it’s been proven that fences / walls in spots on the boarder work.

    1. First – what makes you think anyone outside CA gives a rat’s fuck about your crappy little state.

      Second – we already have walls/fences in most of the spots where they DO work. Maybe there’s some mileage there that is needed – but that’s not where you people want to build more wall. You want to build more wall in deserts that are miles from roads and even further from any CBP troops who will respond to an intrusion. Said intrusion can only be picked up and responded to by the various sensors that are – already in place. But no – you all want a wall because apparently those dastardly Guatemalan child terrorists zip around at light speed (way too fast to respond when those sensors get tripped) when traveling on foot but are completely flummoxed by a wall so they will just go home.

      1. You do realize that when their welfare policies bankrupt them that the other 49 states will have to bail them out, right?

        “New Kamala Harris Bill Asks Federal Taxpayers to Subsidize California’s High Housing Costs” – This very site

      2. Nobody thinks a wall will be 100% effective. NOBODY. But if it has effects on the margin, it could still be worth it.

        And these people don’t go on foot in all areas. You do realize that theoretical lines on maps DO NOT stop trucks from driving across them right? But a wall would basically force one to cross on foot. The devil IS in the details, but given the incredibly small cost, I have no problem with spending a few billion bucks on something that may well pay off.

      3. Don’t listen to JFree. He has no idea what he’s talking about, or understands what kind of system of barriers will be built.

  7. 0 The number of reasons why U.S. citizens should not be allowed to decide who, and how many of them, should be permitted to come and make their homes here.

    1. +100

    2. Who gave you the right to decide what I may do with my own property?
      If I wish to rent an apartment to a foreigner, why should I have to get your permission first?

      1. Who gave you permission to sue me if I stiff you on a contract? Who gave you permission to get a default judgment against me if I refuse to show up in court, and to execute that judgment against my property against my will?

        1. “Who gave you permission to sue me if I stiff you on a contract? ”

          You did, if you signed the contract of your free will and then did not abide by its terms.

          Now who gave you the right to decide who I may rent my property to?

          1. Our contract didn’t say anything about my being subject to jurisdiction of a court or your having any remedies against my property. All it said was that I’d pay you a couple thousand to paint my house. I didn’t give the sheriff permission to seize my boat if I didn’t pay you and I ignored your summons.

      2. You know who Jeff? THE REAL WORLD.

        In the real world, it doesn’t work like in your fantasy land dream. It’s as simple as that. As long as I’m on the hook as a US tax payer for subsidizing net negative tax contributing low skilled foreigners, I’m going to be against unskilled immigration. Period.

        Abolish socialized costs for things, and I will rethink my position. Until then, fuck off.

        1. He’s a child, isn’t he? Just stupid sophist arguments that some college freshman in his first philosophy class would make and think he’s clever.

          Stupid Jeffy.

          1. Yup. And no matter how many times I’ve schooled him on his nonsense, he just comes back and makes the same flawed arguments on every article. I don’t even know why I respond anymore. I guess I do it in case somebody else with a functioning brain reads my comment.

      3. Jeffy, I’ve covered this with you several times. When I refuse to repeat myself for the nth time, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

        Your question has been answered before. Now stop your shitposting. You’re not getting your way, and your argument is still stupid, and discredited.

  8. 67 percent. That is the estimated number of illegal immigrants who entered the United States legally and became illegal by overstaying their visas,

    Is Reason in favor of entry/exit visa tracking? I didn’t think so. It’s disingenuous to say the wall won’t stop most illegal immigrants, when you’re not in favor of any method that would stop them.

    1. Why don’t you describe precisely what you mean by “entry/exit visa tracking” and then maybe we can have an intelligent conversation about its merits, or lack thereof.

    2. I have no idea what Reason is in favor of or opposed to. But what is disingenuous is pretending that one is concerned about illegal migration while ignoring far far more than 67% of the actual problem.

      Wall doesn’t do shit about the visa problem. Those who advocate the wall never mention visa overstayers

      Wall doesn’t do shit about the judicial backlog re the southern border crossers – which is the source of close to 100% of releases from detention which in turn is responsible for MOST of the ‘successful’ illegal crossers when they don’t show up. Those who advocate wall don’t seem to hold Trump responsible for the dramatic increase in that backlog (521,000 cases when he came into office – 786,000 cases now). If you think indeterminate prison for 3/4 million people is cheap, you’re a moron. And this is easy low-hanging fruit to resolve since the 2nd term of Obama’s prez was fucking atrocious at creating this as a problem. Making the problem WORSE is not the road to a solution.

      Wall does however make for easy racist demonizing of the migrants themselves. So great politics.

      1. So great politics.

        Not for long. Just not enough ignorant bigots to keep this going, even in America’s desolate backwaters.

      2. Yeah, and Trump has proposed a shit ton of other stuff related to immigration too. Like a points based system, and tons of other things. He has talked about visa over stays, as have other Rs. He’s not JUST talked about the wall the whole time dude. But the wall IS one of the things he talked about and promised, and is trying to deliver on.

        1. Most Americans don’t want the wall. Pres. Trump does not seem to be persuading legislators to fund a wall. Unless he persuades most Americans or most legislators that the proposed expenditure of federal funds and the building of a wall are desirable, it seems unlikely a wall is to be constructed (or funded by anyone other than Mexico, which was his explicit campaign promise).

          1. Most Americans want the wall dumbfuck. Trump’s border security plan is very popular. Except to a moronic traitor, such as yourself.

    3. How do you track visas? I mean, any differently than we do already.

      The state knows when its issued one, it knows when its used to enter the country, it knows when one is used to exit the country – or not.

      If I come in on a visa, tell you I’m going to Los Angeles, and then head to Albuquerque, how are you to know?

      1. Issue a no-expiration bench warrant for arrest. And put a note that says the very fact of overstaying a visa renders them lifetime ineligible for readmission to the US or requalification for any visa whatsoever.

        A lot of folks may well avoid trouble enough so that the bench warrant never gets the person back in court or deported. But the penalty is significant enough so that people will start respecting visa limits.

        1. And that’s a solid proposal! We should do something like that.

          But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ALSO do other things. There are a ton of moving parts with illegal immigration, and legal immigration too. We need to make LOTS of changes. Certain piecemeal things will have incremental effects though.

    4. Mind you, people who overstay visas have already been vetted to at least the extent necessary to get a visa, which is a lot more than the vetting you undergo to walk across the border. So it does make sense to prioritize dealing with the people who walk across.

  9. The wall is purely for Trumps re-election bid. Whether it works or not is irrelevant as long as people think he’s trying to fulfill his campaign promise. I don’t think it’s going to be built. However, the American people have consistently shown an openness to compromise on amnesty deals but OMLY if the border is secured first.

    1. The post button covered what was supposed to be ONLY. This website. Sheesh.

  10. What exactly constitutes a “secure border”?

    I go by the dictionary definitions of “secure”:
    – not subject to threat; certain to remain or continue safe and unharmed.
    – protected against attack or other criminal activity.

    Neither one requires a wall for a border to be “secure”. All that is needed is a military sufficiently equipped to repel a military invasion by a hostile power.

    And from a libertarian point of view, illegal immigration is *only* a crime because the government has declared it so (malum prohibitum); it is not a crime because anyone’s rights are violated per se. It *could be* that a migrant trespasses on someone’s private property, but if that is the case, it is an issue for the private property owner to deal with, and if private property owners wants to build walls all over their property, they are free to do so.

    1. And if you define “secure borders” as meaning “must have not just a big beautiful wall, but also a giant immigration bureaucracy keeping track of everyone”, then that leads to the fairly nonsensical conclusion that the nation’s borders have never been secure in its entire history.

      1. Jeffy, stop your sophist shitposting.

    2. “All that is needed is a military sufficiently equipped to repel a military invasion by a hostile power….”

      So you’re in favor of using military forces to discourage illegal immigration across the southern border.
      That’s going “all in!”

      1. Illegal immigration ? military invasion

      2. Only if you consider Mexico to be a ‘hostile power’ so endemically hostile that even private citizens are unilaterally attacking.

    3. You know you’re beat on substance, so you’re resorting some kind of weird semantics.

      The wall secures the border just as the lock on your door secures your house. It’s meant to physically prevent unlawful entry. Canada probably doesn’t need wall, because people aren’t all that excited to live in a cold ass land where the government won’t give non citizens free healthcare and education. America is a different story. But if Canada does build a wall on their side of town, why is that immoral?

      A nation’s sovereignty is comparable to private property rights – for all intents and purposes. Foreign nationals do not have constitutional right to move in here without going through proper channels.

      We didn’t need wall expansion in 2007. But we’re in the age of migrant surges now and places like Honduras will go the way of Venezuela sooner or later. How much money will it cost the government to house and feed thousands of “refugees” who might cross Mexico every other year? Give them a hearing court, handle all their application? The backlog and logistics will be a nightmare.

      1. A nation’s sovereignty is comparable to private property rights – for all intents and purposes. Foreign nationals do not have constitutional right to move in here without going through proper channels.

        Yup. Nor do they have a moral right to move in here without going through proper channels, in 99% of cases.

    4. Real world versus fantasy land dude.

      Like it or not, citizens in countries are bound together in practical terms by living within that nation. The laws bind them together. Etc. In effect we are all joint owners in the nation. As such we have a right to decide who comes in.

      I have yet to see many libertarians say we should allow in convicted child rapists, or serial killers. Why is somebody who will be a more petty criminal supposed to be exempted from this? We don’t know who comes in if we aren’t checking everybody, which means we should be trying to check as many people as is possible. I met an illegal at a bar who was bitching about possibly being deported now that Trump is in office, because he was arrested for grand theft auto several years ago. That fuck should have never been here, and he should definitely be sent back.

      Now, what about somebody who is guaranteed to be a net negative taxpayer, and put a burden on native born Americans? Is that not something to be concerned about in a welfare state???

      Until people aren’t on the hook for these fuck wits, it is directly inflicting harm on people already here to let them in. So fuck those people.

  11. 234 miles. That is the length of the steel barrier that the White House says could be built with $5.7 billion. That’s roughly 12 percent of the 1,950 mile land border with Mexico.

    Considering the geography, topography proximate population,suitability for motorized transportation and practicality of routes leading further into the US that’s quite a lot.

    1. Its not really even enough to secure the major border cities.

  12. Good heavens. The guy is just deadpan reading from a prompter. He makes Obama look gifted with the teleprompter.

    1. The loud inhaling is the worst part. It’s more fun when he fires from the hip but that would’ve been a disaster tonight

  13. … While Watching Trump’s Immigration Speech

    *LOLOLOLOL*

    That was a good one. Watching Trump indeed. What’ll they think of next.

  14. Is there something wrong with Schumer’s left eye?

    1. Yeah, it’s attached to Schumer. Give it a break, that’s a heavy burden to bear.

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  16. “since Congress was willing to give Trump the full $25 billion last year in exchange for immigration reform?but the dealmaker-in-chief dismissed that plan as “massive amnesty.”‘

    It was; The amnesty was front loaded, and the money back loaded. They’d have gotten their amnesty, and then snatched back the money for the wall.

    Seriously, I get tired of arguments that require the other side to have amnesia. It’s ok to assume the other guys are gullible, but you shouldn’t rest your whole argument on it.

  17. “$24.3 million. This is the per-mile cost of the proposed steel barrier.”

    Now, THIS I find troubling. I really don’t see how you realistically get to $24 million per mile. Israel’s wall is under much more intense attack, and ran about a tenth that cost per mile.

    1. Perhaps the way the bill is worded they can build as much of the wall as they can with said amount of money? If so that could be a crafty way to get enough funding to get most of it done, while making it look insignificant in the argument process.

      Dems: Well, we finally decided to give him his couple hundred miles of wall, because it doesn’t matter anyway… And the children! Welfare was about to run out. Etc etc etc.

      Trump: Got ya bitches! I’m going to be able to build 3.5 times the length of wall we were talking about with this funding, and given the wording it is already authorized. Suck it bitches!

      Could be?

      1. More likely Israel can build wall for a reasonable price because everybody there understands the alternative is getting blown up by a suicide bomber.

        While the price is dramatically increased by graft here, because a lot of folks don’t consider getting the wall built important.

    2. “For an even better comparison, a four-mile stretch of border wall recently built in El Paso, Texas, cost $22 million total. Trump’s wall isn’t just coming up short, but it appears to be over cost already.”
      It sounds like a portion of wall already was built at less than 1/4 of the estimated cost. Can the proposed extension of the wall be built for that cost? Would it achieve the goals set for the proposed new sections? This looks like an own goal from the author

  18. “67 percent. That is the estimated number of illegal immigrants who entered the United States legally and became illegal by overstaying their visas”

    Yes, but there’s a big difference. With the visa overstayers, we know their names, and we have bounced those off a terrorist watchlist, as well as checked them against people who have been previously deported. We can’t do that with people who cross the border illegally.

    “1.6 million. This is the number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border in 2000. That’s four times as many as were caught last year, but somehow this counts as a crisis now?”

    Yes! In the past, most migrants were from Mexico, and deporting them was easy. Today’s migrants are largely coming from Central America, which makes deportation much more difficult, and now we have the additional problem of a record numbers of unaccompanied minors, which are even more so difficult to deport, as well as being much more resource intensive and expensive to take care of.

    NPR: Shelters For Immigrant Teens Expanded As Record Numbers Continue To Cross

  19. Start of article …. ‘President Donald Trump will take eight minutes of your time this evening’

    False. The guy took nothing from me as I did not watch it.

    And I am getting damned tired of the bullshit on Reason.

    Jackass.

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