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Trump Says the Border Wall Will Pay for Itself. It Won't.

The president is touting a study that underestimates the wall's cost by a wide margin.

Fox & Friends ran a segment this morning touting a study that claims a border wall with Mexico could pay for itself by reducing crime and the flow of drugs into America. President Donald Trump saw fit to amplify the report:

Trump is wrong, because Fox & Friends is wrong, because the Center for Immigration Studies—an anti-immigration think tank that has been pushing the wall-will-pay-for-itself narrative pretty much since Trump took office—is wrong.

And the center is wrong mostly because it failed to account for the true cost of the border wall. The $18 billion figure relies on "unrealistically cheap construction costs and outrageous estimates of the number of illegal immigrants that it will deter," wrote Alex Nowrasteh and David Bier, a pair of immigration policy experts at the Cato Institute, in an analysis of the center's border wall projections last year.

As Nowrasteh and Biers point out, simply building the wall is likely to cost more than $18 billion. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that each mile of the border wall will cost about $17 million—including the cost of buying or seizing land along the border from private owners—and therefore a 1,900-mile wall would end up costing taxpayers around $28 billion.

And after you build a wall, you have to maintain it. Those maintenance costs will leave taxpayers with an additional $48.3 billion tab for the wall's first decade alone.

That's not all. The wall won't catch illegal immigrants by itself, and the Trump administration knows this. "If you build a wall, you would still have to back that wall up with patrolling by human beings," then–Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Congress less than a week after Trump took office. In the executive order that authorized the construction of the border wall, Trump called for hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.

Each of those 5,000 agents will cost taxpayers more than $100,000 in annual pay and benefits, amounting to a decade-long personnel cost of over $6 billion. And that's still not a full summation of the costs involved, since it does not include the equipment border agents will use to apprehend immigrants, or the legal costs associated with convicting, jailing, or deporting those border-crossers.

Will the wall pay for itself? The Center for Immigration Studies claims that $18 billion price tag can be met by preventing 200,000 future crossings, a number that Steven Camarota, director of research at the center, has said represents only a modest reduction in illegal immigration.

According to the center, each illegal border-crosser represents a $74,000 drain on the American economy. Multiply that figure by 200,000 fewer border-crossers, and you'll reach the study's estimate that the wall will save about $18 billion. But that fails to account for the age and education level of the average border-crosser, argue Nowrasteh and Bier. They say the average illegal immigrant costs about $43,000 in public services, about half of what the center estimates.

And that doesn't account for economic growth that would be lost by reducing immigration as a whole. This is no small matter; immigrants, even illegal ones, boost wages, pay taxes, and increase long-term economic growth.

But let's set that aside, and accept for the sake of argument that each illegal immigrant imposes a net cost on the U.S. economy. In that case, after we adjust to a more realistic estimate of the wall's costs, it would still be theoretically possible for the wall to pay for itself. But it would be a lot harder.

"The wall would have to deter just over 1 million illegal immigrants who would have otherwise entered the United States," Nowrasteh and Bier conclude. In other words, it would have to stop about 60 percent of all illegal immigration into the country.

Can it do that? Not likely.

For starters, about a third of all illegal immigrants are people who came to the United States legally and simply overstayed their visa. A border wall would do nothing to stop them.

As for the rest, it might be only moderately useful. Take for example a 14-mile stretch of wall near San Diego that "did not have a discernible impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens coming across the border in San Diego" when it was built in the early 1990s, according to the Congressional Research Service. As Reason has previously detailed, efforts to make the San Diego border wall more robust increased the cost of the project but didn't do much to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.

So even if you accept the center's premises about the costs of immigration, the wall couldn't pay for itself unless it stops five times as many illegal immigrants as even staunchly pro-wall activists like Camarota say it will. That's completely unrealistic.

Photo Credit: Kyodo/Newscom

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  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Trump Says the Border Wall Will Pay for Itself. It Won't.


    To be fair to the president, he has said many other things that are downright lies, so you shouldn't feign surprise at the size of this new whopper.

  • Tony||

    There's no problem with the size of his whopper, he guaranteed us.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Nobody likes Burger King anyway.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    The wall is a huge barrier to free trade in labor. There, the costs of the wall are proportional to how much it stifles free trade.

  • SQRLSY One||

    We could get a MUCH better deal if we just reduced the heighth of the wall!!! Pus, we'd have fewer health-care costs claims by ICE agents who throw out their backs, performing super-hero stunts like this!!! (Less-tall wall, fixes it ALL!!!)

    ICE Agents Hurl Pregnant Immigrant Over Mexican Border To Prevent Birth On U.S. Soil
    http://www.theonion.com/ice-ag.....1822307567

  • vek||

    If only that Onion story were true! Illegals are bad enough, but they can be deported... The whole "anybody born here, whether their parents were here legally or not" thing is super bullshit. Having read the language of the citizenship bit of the constitution I think it is dubious whether it really exists as it is interpreted now anyway, but if it does it shouldn't! Somebodies mom showing up on our soil 5 minutes before a baby drops out of their vag should not make somebody a citizen.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The wall is a huge barrier to open borders at any cost, and all the vile bullshit associated with that.

    Build the wall.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yup. The wall is a symbol that America is taking back control of its border policy.

  • Jerryskids||

    Like the Trumpalos always say, pay no attention to what he says, pay attention to what he does*. He says he's going to build a big, beautiful wall and Mexico's going to pay for it - so far, no wall.

    *Why the hell these people voted for Trump based strictly on what he said and then turned right around and said "pay no attention to what he says" is beyond me. And why is it they only say that when you're complaining about something he said and never when Trump's being praised for something he said?

  • CE||

    But what about the multiplier effect?

  • LarryA||

    Trump called for hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.

    So each of them has to watch about half a mile of border, most of it in very rugged wilderness, 24/7/365. More realistically, counting shifts, annual and sick leave, training, court appearances, and prisoner processing, each agent would have to cover at least three-four miles.

    Anyone who advocates building the wall should have to follow the route it has to take, from the Pacific to the Gulf. On horseback.

  • vek||

    Electronic stuff is a lot cheaper, and I'm pretty sure they're planning on using a lot of fancy shit should it ever get built. We don't really need a lot of agents with infrared, motion detecting cameras, and even fancy stuff that can detect subterranean disturbances like tunnels. The 21st century has all kinds of scary ass surveillance technology... If it's going to be used anywhere, it should be on the border with a 3rd world shithole that's in a perpetual state of near civil war.

  • vek||

    Oh, and I forgot drones! Gotta mention drones because they're a buzzword!

  • Real American||

    still a bargain

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Compared to what?

  • Ecoli||

    America becoming a third-world shithole.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Ecoli,

    How? How would that happen, when during the last half of the 19th Century the US was also receiving what today wouod be considered "3rd Worldlers" yet America became the beacon of liberty and Capitslism.

    You are a liar.

  • Deplorable||

    "How? How would that happen"

    More people like you, deadbeat pieces of shit from white, black, and brown third world shitholes.

  • Tony||

    Okay fine, let's kick Alabama out.

  • shawn_dude||

    Just Alabama?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tony, insteadlets just get rid of all you progressives and make America Marxist free. You will give up your o,ace here for a person of color, won't you? If not you're a fucking racist.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I think it pretty much depends on why people come here, and I think there is a lot of room for debate on that point.

    If people are coming here to free ride, or are wanting to bring shithole nation practices to this country, that won't help the USA to be a beacon of liberty and it will reduce the quality of life of all of us who live here.

    If people are coming here to better their lives by hard work and by contributing to the good of all by participating vigorously in the free market, I agree they will be a boon to our society, and I welcome them with open arms.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Mexico is Mexico because of Mexicans.
    Import Mexicans, become more like Mexico.

    The same applies for any country, and regions as well. The US is one of the most libertarian countries. Import people from less libertarian countries, become less libertarian. Duh.

    The data is clear. Hispanics overwhelming support Democrats and bigger government.

    PEW Research on Hispanic Americans
    https://goo.gl/WBi1BV
    Hispanics, regardless of immigration status, lean Democratic over 3 to 1

    https://goo.gl/hxSJHi
    Hispanics of all Generations Want Bigger Government Providing More Services over 3 to 1

    Import big government voters, get bigger government. Duh.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So is your real problem that immigrants vote for big government Democrats instead of big government Republicans, or that libertarian ideas just aren't that persuasive?

  • Nuwanda||

    It's a problem in the first instance that they vote for big government regardless of who's offering it. It's more of a problem that libertarian ideas aren't persuasive.

    Why don't immigrants overwhelmingly vote for libertarians? Shouldn't they if the open borders crowd is right? These folks don't want more government, they want to escape state-controlled shitholes for a free life. Then why do they vote for more control and not freedom? Why do ICE agents not find stacks of well-thumbed Reasons and LP election pamphlets in the places they raid? Apparently the immigrants don't care too much for their enablers.

    Libertarians who favor open borders are advocating the destruction of the system they say they wish to promote. The self-loathing libertarian? Or maybe there's some deep system-crashing apocalyptic sociopathy at work.

  • ||

    Why don't immigrants overwhelmingly vote for libertarians?

    Because immigrants tend to try to fit in with the dominant culture as best they can, which tends to preclude joining groups that are perceived as fringe political fanatics.

    Immigrants don't actually tend to be super up on all the subtle details of domestic politics among native groups in their new homeland. But if you have two major parties, and one of them is saying "you people are poisonous to our precious culture," you're probably going to support the other one regardless of what either you or they believe about economics.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    So we can expect all Whites to vote Republican if Democrats say that White people should feel guilty about slavery?

  • ||

    So we can expect all Whites to vote Republican if Democrats say that White people should feel guilty about slavery?

    Probably not all, but quite a bit of recent commentary (even coming from the left) has pointed to the Democrat demonizing of white people as no small factor in their loss of support among white people. Go figure.

  • Nuwanda||

    Because immigrants tend to try to fit in with the dominant culture as best they can, which tends to preclude joining groups that are perceived as fringe political fanatics.

    Last I looked, voting was a private thing between you and your conscience, not a public fact. Immigrants voting a particular way has nothing to do with fitting in. The fact is they are susceptible to the ideas of the big government parties.

    Here's where it gets damning. Gary Johnson was governor of New Mexico, twice, and despite his extremely high profile and his pro-liberty, low-tax stance, he still lost Hispanic dominated counties to his opponent, a big government Democrat.

  • ||

    I'm guessing you don't know many immigrants.

    Why don't most native citizens vote Libertarian?

    I personally haven't known all that many people who are even aware that the Libertarian Party is a thing, let alone a thing that there's any point in "supporting."

    Also, my personal experience with discussing political issues with immigrants has been that if you can make a generalization they tend to be socially very conservative and economically very pro-business - you know, like the Republicans used to be. The opposition among immigrants to libertarian ideas (again, in my experience) tends to be opposition to things like legalization of drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage. Again, much more like Republicans than Democrats.

    Their kids on the other hand . .

  • shawn_dude||

    "Then why do they vote for more control and not freedom? "

    Because to a poor person, healthcare they can't afford isn't "freedom."

  • Nuwanda||

    Because to a poor person, healthcare they can't afford isn't "freedom."

    What an empty, nihilistic argument: if I can't afford something I have no freedom therefore I'll vote for the party that takes it from someone else and hands it to me.

    Further, if that's the way you believe immigrants think, then that's all the more reason to make sure those entering have the means to provide for themselves.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Then why support Obamacare? Pretty unaffordable for most people.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The difference between people who want to virtue signal as libertarians versus those who actually want to protect and promote liberty.

  • Consigliere of the Dark Ones||

    Hispanics, regardless of immigration status, lean Democratic over 3 to 1

    You can think Pete Davis for that.

  • Jerryskids||

    Mexico is Mexico because of Mexicans.

    Shouldn't that tell you something about the people trying to get the hell out of Mexico? If they liked Mexico and thought it was just fine, wouldn't they stay in Mexico? This is why the US needs to welcome people from shithole countries - those are the smart people who recognize they live in shithole countries, don't like living in a shithole country, have the gumption and the ambition to do something about it.

  • Headache||

    Bull. Californians move to less liberal states and bring their liberal politics with them. Mass, NY the same. They just like fucking up places.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Shouldn't that tell you something about the people trying to get the hell out of Mexico? If they liked Mexico and thought it was just fine, wouldn't they stay in Mexico? "

    People often run from the consequences of their ideology while they carry their ideology along with them.

    People can *see* that America is safer and more prosperous. Doesn't mean that they understand *why*.

  • CE||

    Because they're pro-life, pro-family, hard-working Christian immigrants? They seem like natural Republican voters, if the Republican party wasn't anti-immigrant.

  • buybuydandavis||

    If Mexicans are such natural Republicans, why don't they vote that way in Mexico?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Well maybe they like the Democrat's policy of tolerance towards gay people. Then again, the Hispanics at one factory near me make fun of the one Eastern European immigrant there. They call him "gay" because he can do arithmetic.

  • vek||

    The problem a lot of you are having is this:

    1. Not all immigrants are created equal. Immigration from Europe was spread throughout the social stratum. Current Mexican immigration is almost entirely from the lowest tiers of society, because the wealthy and middle class have it pretty decent there. A Mexican accountant moving here illegally to become a busboy does not improve his life, but a Mexican busboy moving here to be a busboy does. Low status jobs tend to be low IQ people in any society. Social mobility of low IQ people will be low. In other words importing nothing but the dregs will only produce more dregs. The inverse is too true, which is why we should import from the upper levels of society only.

    2. You live in the la la land where race and culture don't matter... Problem is ONLY white people have bought into this lie because of leftist propaganda. Everybody else still organizes around this principle. Even if new people were economically productive, which low skill people won't be, we are still turning the country into a powder keg of racial tension... Which is a bad idea. Because eventually it MAY turn into a race war, which whites will inevitably win because we're more bad ass and violent than anybody when we get around to it. I'd prefer to avoid this. Even if that doesn't happen there will be endless increased tension from here until the sun burns out, like we've had with blacks.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Yes and no. The last half of the 19th Century gave us Progressives, a living Constitution, and Jim Crow laws. The decades from 1890 to 1940 were not great for libertarianism.

  • vek||

    That is simply false Old Mexican.

    We still had tons of immigrants from the best countries in the world during that time, like some of my German ancestors. And for all the bagging on them we did, Italy, Ireland, etc WERE NOT 3rd world shitholes, even at the time. They weren't nearly as impressive as Germany, UK, or the USA, but they were more advanced and wealthy than basically any country outside of Europe. Kind of like they are now!

    Mexico is an entirely different level of shithole to Italy. And Somalia is an entirely different level of shithole to Mexico too! Try reading IQ And The Wealth Of Nations, and perhaps some of this will begin to make more sense to you!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Ecoli knows shithole. He literally lives in one.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Will the wall pay for itself? The Center for Immigration Studies claims that $18 billion price tag can be met by preventing 200,000 future crossings


    The CIS, which is the right-wing Socialists' own SPLC, in the sense that it also peddles downright lies about people and plays fast and loose with statistics, makes the claim that "crossings" cost the economy despite the fact that labor is always productive in a free (or even a free-ish) Market. Which tells you that they're also economically illiterate. Just like Trumpistas! Huh! How about that?

  • Kivlor||

    Maybe you aren't aware, but we don't live in a free market.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Free-ish.

    At least freer than in most places.

  • Kivlor||

    Free-ish changes a lot of how things work my dude.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Perhaps some things, but labor is still productive.

    Labor stops being productive when there are no market prices. Unless YOU want to claim here that markets in the US do not clear, I would advise that you stop showcasing your economic ignorance, "my dude".

  • Kivlor||

    No one is claiming that labor doesn't produce. They are questioning whether or not the productivity of certain demographics is outweighed by their consumption of government services. Which is a legitimate question.

  • shawn_dude||

    It's a legitimate question if they can first detail the services they actually consume. The quote above says they're on the "dole," which in the US is called "welfare." Undocumented immigrants don't qualify for welfare. Further, they do end up paying taxes, though not income taxes. The economic impact of their labor plus the taxes they pay is significant, especially given the fact that they don't qualify for many of the services they're falsely accused of consuming.

  • Headache||

    They cross illegally, push out their span, then they are eligible.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "cost the economy "

    The US was not created for "the economy", but for "ourselves and our posterity".

    The question is what they cost *Americans*, in money and freedom.

  • Kivlor||

    You must worship at the font of the Almighty GDP. Supplicate yourself or be persecuted, heretic.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Yeah. Time can be spent well even without raising the GDP. There is nothing wrong with people mowing their own lawns, raising their own kids, or being aware of their own feelings without paying a professional for those services.

  • vek||

    Or having a legal person doing that shit! My lawn guy for over 10 years was a LEGAL immigrant from Vietnam. My new guy is a native born white dude. The white dude charges a bit more, but the LEGAL immigrant was quite reasonable, and really so is the white guy. The legal immigrant was able to charge reasonable money because he was all on the up and up, not trying to dodge the law and shit, so he asked for what the market would bear. He owns a house, has kids, etc. Illegals often undercut because they have low standards and expectations... I guess it'd be nice to pay 15 bucks to get my lawn done, but if the cost of that is my taxes going up, and the entire standard of living of the country eroding, I'd rather pay $30 bucks or something!

  • Elias Fakaname||

    There are no right wing socialists.

  • vek||

    Illegals may produce in the economy, but ponder this:

    If an illegal comes here and makes 25 or 30K a year, they're still going to be a net tax drain, even if they pay ALL taxes under a fake SSN.

    Roads, bridges, water, etc are all socialized costs, and they don't make enough to cover it. If they have kids, that costs 12K a year PER FUCKING KID. So 2 kids wipes out the ENTIRE economic productivity of said person, before even taking into account roads etc.

    All additions to GDP do not necessarily do something people desire. If you add 30K to GDP, and then promptly use 50K a year in government services, that is a net negative for existing citizens. This is what all native born poor are, and all illegal immigrants on average. In other words MY taxes have to go up to subsidize the 2/3 kids they have in school, their use of the roads, of water, etc. In a socialized system this is unavoidable.

    What Americans REALLY want is to increase per capita GDP. This is what most would consider a REAL gain. Many legal immigrants who come in on their own merits do exactly this, almost zero illegals do. So call me crazy but I'd rather have an immigrant that is going to move in and REDUCE my tax burden, versus one who will add to it!

  • buybuydandavis||

    "What Americans REALLY want is to increase per capita GDP."

    Cheering that aggregate GDP increased because we imported human widgets is simply retarded.

    But per capita GDP isn't great either.

    Importing human widgets is largely a wealth transfer from those who supply labor to those who purchase it. Despite what Reason would have you believe, the law of supply and demand is not repealed because open borders.

    Even if there were an additional net benefit to employers beyond that, some net GDP increase, the mass of Americans do not see that as sufficient reason to screw the mass of American labor.

  • vek||

    That is a fair point.

    Median wages could just as easily replace GDP per capita to make the same point though. And high value immigrants achieve an increase in that, and low value immigrants reduce it.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Wasn't Mexico supposed to pay for the wall? Or did I dream that?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think the last few years may have all been a dream, so I can't answer that easily.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    If the media or politicians stop spinning, you know it is not a dream.

  • JFree||

    That was before bitcoin took off. Now Trump can put the wall on blockchain and it will more than pay for itself. It will pay for so much more than itself that Mexicans themselves will compete to buy pieces of that wall in order to make a fortune without having to even cross the border. So ultimately Mexico will pay for it too.

    This is gonna be yuge.

  • CE||

    Or just build the wall out of the old bitcoin mining servers that are too power hungry to be effective any more.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    It'll be as effective as that other wall. Maginot was its name-o.

  • ||

    We've figured out how to build turrets that allow us to shoot them in the front and in the back.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Meh ... according to the left, that wall around Gaza is extremely effective. It's all a mater of design.

  • Headache||

    Mexico built border security structures on its southern border.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That's different. Americans are racists.

    /lefty

  • vek||

    I think, as a tactic, Trump should have somebody translate the EXACT, word for word, immigration laws from Mexico, and then without telling anybody that's the case, present it to congress for a vote.

    People would FREAK OUT because their laws are actually sensible. Then, he could bust out and tell everybody "LOLOLOL You liberals are so fucking stupid! God, you're easy to troll! That is the exact set of immigration laws MEXICO has. So tell me why it makes sense for Mexico, but not for us???"

    It would be the ultimate troll move, and we all know that is really Trumps strong suit. He would embarrass the entire left sooooooooo hard by doing that in an actual official manner. They would be crushed.

  • buybuydandavis||

    All Hail the Troll in Chief!

  • vek||

    Exactly! Play to your strengths!

  • Rich||

    A-HA!!!

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    You know what else was going to pay for itself?

    Paul Brown Stadium

  • Jerryskids||

    I was going to guess every mass transit project ever proposed, the California high-speed rail being the latest iteration and the Atlanta streetcar proposal the local iteration that just won't die.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Iraq oil for Iraq War

  • Elias Fakaname||

    We should have taken some of their oil. Demcorats simultaeously whine and cry about the cost of the Iraq war, yet also scream about 'blood for oil'. If we had taken the fucking oil, the net cost would have been substantially lower.

  • vek||

    If we truly stole all their oil, it would have been a highly profitable war! There's a reason the empire of old lasted for many centuries at a time... Because they looted without feeling bad about it. It's easy to profit from war if you're okay with stealing all the shit from the people you conquer.

    Our problem is we have all the costs of a great empire, without doing much real looting. It's not financially sustainable to do it that way... Which is why we're basically BK after less than a century of this shit.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It isn't 'theft'. Extracting a small percentage of their oil to cover costs is a normal function of wining the war. Look at Germany and Japan after WW2.

  • vek||

    Weeell it is theft, but I think it's justified theft in many cases. I certainly wouldn't have felt bad about jacking a couple trillion in Iraqi oil. Not that we should have been there in that shithole in the first place. If we'd never gone in Iraq would probably still be humming along as a functioning country under Saddam, or his replacement. There's a 99% chance it'd be less of a shit show than it is now.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Not really. A big part of the problem in Iraq is that Saddam had been ignoring its crumbling infrastructure for decades. And it wasn't all brand new when he took over in the first place. The place was starting to fall apart under his rule and he was slaughtering all kinds of people over the years. They certainly would not have been better off. Regardless of the wisdom of going in there, the real failure was entirely leaving and leftimg ISIS take over part of the country.

  • Kivlor||

    Reason's figures fail to take in to account that fewer illegal immigrants means fewer children of illegal immigrants using welfare and other social services. It's one of the primary complaints that the group they quote has regarding this discussion.

    Also, the estimates on the number of illegal immigrants are likely way off. We can make some observations based on incarceration and criminality, and the real estimate is likely somewhere in the 30-50 million range. (Definitely 30 million, but that is an old number and due to changes in federal reporting on the subject several years ago it is not possible to compare apples to apples.) Removing 1,000,000 of them and keeping them out pays for everything you're complaining about.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Kivlor,

    Reason's figures fail to take in to account that fewer illegal immigrants means fewer children of illegal immigrants using welfare and other social services.


    That is a bogus claim. It is clear you have NO fucking clue what the State requires in order to apply for welfare benefits. Hint: parents still have to provide proof of monthly INCOME.

    Keep peddling lies.

  • Kivlor||

    No, it is completely true. That is one of the major points of contention. Just because you want to wave it away since it is inconvenient to your argument doesn't change reality.

    Yes, you still have to provide proof of monthly income. And when you are reporting no (or very little) monthly income, and you have a dependent spouse and children your household can indeed qualify for assistance.

  • vek||

    Lots of states will be just fine issuing benefits if you provide a pay stub, with your fake SSN on it. Not to mention school alone is $12K a year on average in the US. Illegal dish washers don't even make enough GROSS to pay for their 3 kids to go to school, let alone what they pay in actual taxes!

    Math is a bitch yo!

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    ^This. My mom worked for social services for twenty years. These folks on here talking about illegals not getting bennies are FOS. There are workarounds in additional to fake SS numbers which are used that they get. And Ken can attest to the costs to healthcare premiums because most illegals go to to the ER when they get so much as a head cold and that bill gets pushed onto us too.

  • vek||

    Yup on everything. It used to all be sneaky, but nowadays places like California are publicly admitting that they're giving illegals some benefits too! It's crazy town.

  • JFree||

    fewer illegal immigrants means fewer children of illegal immigrants

    Presumably that is why you R's will have no problem going into debt for that then. Because even your grandchildren will benefit from keeping the grandchildren of illegals on the other side of that wall. Considering the rate of population growth, that benefit is so yuge that spending anything less than $1 trillion today is just a total gift to future generations. So we can spend $30 billion on the wall and $970 billion on hookers and blow and put it all on the public tab and our grandchildren will STILL be ahead.

  • Kivlor||

    You'll note that I am--in this very thread--quite skeptical of the value of building a wall. That doesn't preclude me from pointing out that Reason and their sources are being dishonest.

    I'm opposed because I don't know of a way to really tell how much it will cost versus how much it will save. I also don't think that the cost-benefit based on the economy is the proper way to evaluate it. If it is to be built, it ought to be paid for directly, not out of borrowing on future generations, just like all government programs should be.

  • shawn_dude||

    The third largest group of undocumented immigrants are Chinese and they aren't crossing from Mexico or Canada. The wall is near useless for the stated purpose. It's vulnerable to a variety of low-tech countermeasures and gives a false sense of superiority while ignoring two large ocean borders on either end. As we've seen from Cuba, all it takes is a rickety boat.

  • Headache||

    Not true the Chinese are crossing the Mexican border.

  • JFree||

    That just means we need a better wall that can go underwater as well so we can extend it further.

    And every single one of these infiltrators is an alien. so what we really need is a big umbrella to prevent the airborne invasion

  • vek||

    Irrelevant. Nobody claims it will stop every single illegal immigrant. The fact is if it stops even a small percentage over a long period of time, it will financially pay for itself. But even if it was only break even, or cost us money, so what???

    I don't want a bunch of illegal fucks sneaking into my damn country. They don't belong here. We don't need more dish washers and lawn guys.

    The 21st century is rapidly making low skill labor obsolete, so what kind of a fucking moron thinks it is a great idea to import 10-11 million people with an average education level of 8th grade??? Which is the average for illegal Mexicans by the way. This is coming from somebody who is part Mexican too. We just don't need that shit, not from Mexico, not from Germany either! I don't want 8th grade German immigrants, because they're gonna be fuck ups too!

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Shawn, your assertions mean very little without proof. The fact of the matter is that the kind of wall they are going to build will be very effective. You're. OST likely just ignorant, due to a steady diet of progressive propaganda.

  • Kwix||

    Also, the estimates on the number of illegal immigrants are likely way off ... the real estimate is likely somewhere in the 30-50 million range.


    Ahahahahah. You seriously thing that 10-15% of the population of this country is here illegally? So for every 20 people you know 3 are illegal immigrants?

  • ||

    They could be your neighbors, man. Maybe even members of your own family. You just never can be too sure.

  • Kivlor||

    It's a pretty concerning thought. I know, math is hard so low IQ fools like yourself just want to retreat back to "but my feelings tell me that number can't be right because they're feelings and they can't be wrong."

    I think that they congregate in some areas. Odds are that I don't know any. But for every 30 people I know, there are likely 3 illegal immigrants in the nation.

    Here's a thought exercise: The openly stated estimates have been that there are ~1,000,000 illegal immigrants that enter the country per year. This estimate has been relatively static for 2 decades. It goes up and down by 20%, but overall, the number is stable. But somehow, we're still saying that there's 12,000,000 illegal immigrants in the US, just like there was 20 years ago.

    Now, that's just a little exercise. If you've got time to delve into some demographic data you'll find that there's a lot more here than is being advertised.

  • ||

    Kiv - illegals come and go on a fairly regular basis. During the recession there were more leaving then coming to the US. I agree the number probably is not static over two decades but it is also not the sum of annual illegal immigration x number of years

  • vek||

    Yea, from all the reading I did at the time, I think 15-20 MIGHT have been possible pre recession. But it is known to have chilled out a lot since then.

    But it is true we just don't know. In California it sure as hell feels like there are more illegals than citizens! Mostly because people born there, like me and my whole family, have almost all fled that socialist, multi-culti, basically 3rd world, shithole of a state.

  • Kivlor||

    To be clear, I don't arrive at that number by simple addition. criminality and arrest rates are reliable statistics within demographics, and the number of criminal illegal aliens in prison is the indicator that I go by. It is by that metric that I arrive at the 30 million number, which as I recall was in 2012. After that, the feds changed their reporting methods, which means we can't compare apples to apples anymore, but there are other ways to estimate the true number of illegals.

  • Kivlor||

    To be clear, I don't arrive at that number by simple addition. criminality and arrest rates are reliable statistics within demographics, and the number of criminal illegal aliens in prison is the indicator that I go by. It is by that metric that I arrive at the 30 million number, which as I recall was in 2012. After that, the feds changed their reporting methods, which means we can't compare apples to apples anymore, but there are other ways to estimate the true number of illegals.

  • Kivlor||

    So, let's look at how we arrived here... First of all, Bear Stearns estimated the illegal immigrant population in 2005 to be ~20 million. This was based not on a questionairre that the illegals are likely to lie on in order to avoid detection, but rather based on 4 things: 1) remittances 2) housing permits in gateway communities 3) school enrollment and 4) cross border flows. So 20 million is a 13 year old figure...

    Now... with a starting point to work with, criminal arrests and convictions are perhaps the best method to infer population. We can look at SCAAP and Federal prison populations. From '03 to '09 SCAAP saw a 33% increase in usage, while Illegals in federal prison rose by 28%. A 28% increase in population from 2005 to 2010 would indicate an illegal population of 25,600,000. Now, in 2010 the feds stopped reporting these numbers, making it much harder to reliably predict.

    Considering this is a 28% increase during the period that you claim they were leaving on the net. Now, everyone claims the number is probably up for the period of 2010 - 2018. But let's just take that 28% (which I think is low) and apply it for 2010 - 2016. We now arrive at an illegal population of 32,750,000.

  • vek||

    Yeah, I mean there's a lot of guess work, and it's hard to pin down. It very well could be that high. It could. But it could also be 12, or 15 or whatever. Or even the 10-11 the mainstream folks claim. Who knows.

    I know during the peak pre recession the info I read seemed to seem reasonable in the 15-20 range. I don't remember their methodology, but I'm usually pretty OCD about thinking things through, and it seemed legit at the time. I remember finding the estimates that said 30 million or whatever back then more questionable to my reasoning.

    But it could be anywhere. It's basically impossible to know. Whatever the case, it is a hell of a lot. Far too many. Deport their asses!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Why would anyone overstay their visa in The Era of Trump?

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I seem to remember that the dismal economy of the Obama years had a large negative affect on illegal immigration. Has that trend reversed now that we are nearing the point where we have worker shortages?

  • vek||

    But we don't have worker shortages. We have way lower labor rate participation than pre recession. The economy hasn't been good enough to draw in a lot of those people yet, and also the geographic dispersal has janked things a bit. Not to mention skills mis-match. Unfortunately most of the illegal Mexicans don't have Comp-Sci degrees from MIT soooooo...

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Our agricultural sector and a good chunk of our blue collar sector absolutely requires non-degree'd people, and that is often supplied by illegals.

    If those sectors are picking up, and I assume they are since I'm in the building industry and it's pretty hot right now, then we will need more workers than we did not too long ago.

  • vek||

    So? We have a lower labor force participation rate than we did pre recession. In other words MILLIONS of working age adults who previously held jobs have stayed out of the labor force, because there isn't enough work. The fact that the guvmint doesn't count them as unemployed is not important. Many of these people are low to mid education folks according to the stats.

    I know plenty of native born folks who work in kitchens, construction etc. About the ONLY job I can think of that less bright native folks I know have not done is picking fruit and shit. And that is only because illegal immigrants undercut the market, and bottom out the wages to being so low no native WANTS to do it for the wages offered. Amazingly, a ton of this work statistically IS done by native born people if you look up the numbers. I just don't know any.

    If we removed the disincentives of the welfare state, and didn't have illegals undercutting, we'd have zero problem getting people to do anything an illegal Mexican will do. Wages for picking fruit might go up by a couple bucks an hour, but in exchange for getting people off the dole and doing something productive, I'm pretty sure the average taxpayer is going to come out waaay ahead, even if the price of lettuce goes up 5%. Not to mention this stuff is largely being automated as we speak anyway.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Are we arguing? I agree with your last paragraph 87%. All I originally wondered was what the relative levels of illegal immigration are between the Obama years and the first year of Trump.

    I had hoped for a reasonable answer to the initial question Why would anyone overstay their visa in The Era of Trump?

    (The 13% I disagree with in your last paragraph is that I believe we have the education industry over-promoting the value of education and over-denigrating the value of blue collar and manual labor, and I think that makes it harder for native born americans to take jobs they are better suited for. And I don't denigrate manual labor jobs at all. I think they are a good fit for a lot of people).

  • vek||

    Posting long after the fact, but if you happen to swing back around, I agree with your last paragraph completely. I don't look down on blue collar work either. We're creating a lot of the problem for ourselves by telling people they shouldn't be okay with doing stuff that HAS to be done!

    To the other points, illegal immigration is supposedly down a fair amount under Trump. People just don't feel inclined to come for some reason... ;)

    For those that still are, I guess because they still think they'll get away with it, or even if they think they'll get caught it is worth the risk? I mean that's basically the reason anybody has ever done it I guess.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Agriculture doesn't *require* people without degrees, they just don't require people with degrees, and therefore don't want to compete for their services by offering the higher wages required to do so.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What if we put solar panels on it?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The Democrats would get on board. Hell, they'd get on board with genocide if you promised to compost the bodies.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Oooh, line the top with giant windmills. Giant windmills with samurai sharp blades...

  • DiegoF||

    That is a line I am genuinely shocked Trump has not used yet. I would bet even money that if you tweeted it at him you'll hear it in his next speech.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Given that they would probably be Chinese solar panels, that would probably offend his nationalist sensibilities even moreso than letting Mexicans in.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I want laser turrets!

  • CE||

    Those will be on the heads of the sharks in the moat.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The Rio Grande just got a lot grander!

  • Kivlor||

    Personally, I'm highly skeptical of any claims that the wall will be a net benefit of $X billion or a net cost of $Y billion. There's just no way to really know how this will go. How many will it deter? What will be the effects economically of the removal (or prevention of entry) of that number of people? These things can't really be known to us, because the variables are so many. This isn't some econ 101 "ceteris parabis" argument.

    There's an unknown number of variables, and it is unknown just how intertwined they are let alone what kind of feedback with each other they may have. This is why it is dangerous to trust fortune tellers, even--especially--if they claim expert fortune telling powers due to their college education.

  • DiegoF||

    They should build an NFL stadium into the wall, to help estimate its economic impact more accurately. See, if they'd had me advising, maybe the Chargers could have stayed in San Diego.

  • Longtobefree||

    Here's an idea; pass a 100% tax on the $2,500.00 reduction in health insurance premiums from Obamacare, and designate that money to pay for the wall.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    According to the center, each illegal border-crosser represents a $74,000 drain on the American economy. Multiply that figure by 200,000 fewer border-crossers, and you'll reach the study's estimate that the wall will save about $18 billion.


    I wasn't kidding when I said above that the CIS Fascists are economically illiterate.

    In the first place, immigrants --even the "illegal" kind-- produce much more than what they take. That's no iddle claim, that's Economics. Unless immigrants spend their time taking government benefits, which they're not eligible to get by the way, immigrants work ans are motivated to work, compared to native-born people who would feel entitled to benefits or already receive benefits. This is why the number of immigrants taking benefits is much lower than what the CIS reports, so much less so that the CIS has to resort to downright LYING (i.e. lumping immigrants togethet with native-born Americans under a "household") in order to support their claim. The CIS has been called out on this many times. They're mostly undeterred, just like their Commie counterparts at the SPLC.

  • Kivlor||

    If an illegal moves here, has kids, and leads a household, and then receives government benefits on behalf of their children and spouse (the household), they are in fact driving up welfare usage, and they are in fact the recipients of the money. It's not lying, it is a correct assessment. "But their kids are native born!" No, they aren't. Those who drafted the Amendment that is being abused and tortured thusly would roll in their graves to know that this is how we are treating it. It was even openly argued thusly before it was voted on and the consensus was that no one would ever try to argue such madness.

  • Tony||

    There is a near-universal scholarly consensus that not only are such people automatically citizens, they are automatically eligible to run for president of the United States (upon reaching the age of 35, of course).

  • Kivlor||

    It is indeed the "rule of law" according to judicial fiat Tony. But anyone who has studied the history of the issue wouldn't argue that the authors of the Amendment intended it to be used that way. Because they were on record as stating that such a thing could never happen.

  • Tony||

    Well, they also owned slaves, so...

  • ||

    Well, they also owned slaves, so...

    Before he comes back to point out that you don't even seem to know what basic law is in question here, allow me to request on behalf of the anti-anti-immigrant crowd that you please just stop now and disengage from this discussion.

  • Kivlor||

    Yeah... The people who passed the Amendment in question are the ones who freed the slaves, and forced the Confederacy to accept the granting of citizenship to blacks as a consequence of conquest...

    SO no. But please, continue making the open-borders pro-immigrant crowd look like the retarded chimps you really are.

  • Tony||

    Oh I was thinking of the president clause, the one that actually uses "natural born."

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Unless immigrants spend their time taking government benefits, which they're not eligible to get by the way

    I agree with your sentiments on immigrants-- to be sure, just so you know, I'm not a racist and I have major trouble with Hitler. *looks through rest of disclaimers*

    But that's not necessarily true. I'm too lazy to google it but there was a California assembly(person) who openly admitted that half the illegals in his family had fake IDs so they could receive services.

    I have no numbers on how big a problem this is-- I strongly suspect it's nowhere near as big as the anti-immigrant foes suggest it is-- it may even be so small as to be inconsequential, but there are certainly a number greater than zero that receive some kind of welfare benefits.

    If a homeless person with no ID of any kind can receive thousands or tens of thousands in benefits, I suspect it's not hard for an English-speaking illegal immigrant to get his nose at least partially in the trough.

  • DiegoF||

    What is an assembly(person)? Is it like an assembly(((person))), except he uses the blood of white children to appease the thirst of Santa Muerte instead of his own hunger for matzoh?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    But that's not necessarily true. I'm too lazy to google it but there was a California assembly(person) who openly admitted that half the illegals in his family had fake IDs so they could receive services.

    This is really interesting to me. I'm not blaming you here, but anyone who abandons the relatively cheap solution of having IDs that work and assumes that the only solution is to build walls and create billion-dollar task forces... um... isn't good at problem solving. I'm very concerned that we still live in the "analog" era of carrying cards around with us with no accompanying electronic record.

    I mean, banks have it figured out. How come government can't?

  • ||

    Embedded GPS chips would be best.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Yeah, I'm not supporting a wall, and I'm not sure I'm even supporting ID.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    ID is already a thing. They create the ID with a computer system. It's already electronic. The fact that there's no electronic interface that attaches the ID place with the welfare place is ridiculous. I'm not advocating for IDs or for welfare places. I'm just acknowledging that the two things exist, but they insist on communicating with each other by paper.

    They probably send faxes to each other too.

  • vek||

    This is on purpose in many places. Just like with voting they want to maintain plausible deniability for things like giving welfare to those who aren't legally eligible. "Hey man, the system didn't TELL ME he had a fake ID and SSN, so I just let him have his 30 grand a year in welfare cash... It's not my fault."

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I think you're absolutely right. It's a purposeful rejection of technology. And I think people should be angry about this instead of accepting it as something that can't change and resorting to walls and other (expensive) measures.

    Maybe I'm just being too simplistic here. But if immigrants are using too much welfare, stop giving them welfare. Isn't that the most obvious solution?

  • vek||

    Obviously! But some people WANT to give them welfare! If we'd been even half assed about enforcement, we'd probably have like 10-20% of the number of illegals here. It wouldn't have required anything draconian, just half assed, but consistent enforcement. The political class on both sides liked it for different reasons, so we have this mess now.

    With how ridiculous the situation is now, I'm not even opposed to a wall. It'll be somewhat of a waste, but it's more practical than 90% of government programs, so WTF ever.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Then we agree on your first paragraph. We've identified the problem, and the problem is (and has always been) the welfare system. Where we differ is on the solution. I think if the problem is the welfare system, then the welfare system should be fixed. And I know of a really easy way to fix it, and it's way more palatable to the leftists than building a border wall.

    Maybe Trump's master plan is to float this trial balloon of building a wall and then at the last minute compromise by making illegal immigrants no longer eligible for welfare. But I doubt he's that clever.

  • vek||

    But they already aren't eligible for welfare in most cases! That already IS the on the books law. So it needs to be enforced of course. But even then the freeloading problem isn't solved at all, because most of the money most people use, whether legal or illegal, is not explicit welfare.

    It's paying for schools, roads, the military, water treatment, etc. In a first world country this costs a SHIT TON of money. Which is why everybody in the country that makes less than around 60K a year is in fact being subsidized by people that make more. That's around the point where you become a true net taxpayer in the USA. Keep in mind most people who make 60K a year aren't getting food stamps, or section 8 or any actual welfare. That's just the basic costs of running our massive government.

    So even eliminating explicit welfare for illegals effectively will only solve a small portion of the problem. Low productivity people are simply a drag on society. So why should we bring in MORE of them? We're stuck with native born blow it cases, but we don't need to import people we know up front will be a burden.

    Bring in IT guys from Europe or Asia who will ease my burden, not lawn guys from Guatemala who will add to it.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    It's paying for schools, roads, the military, water treatment, etc.

    I already responded to this elsewhere, but there are avenues where we can ask users to pay for this. Schools are generally paid for through property taxes, which illegal immigrants pay. Roads are (partially) paid for through user fees, which illegal immigrants pay. The difference between what a legal person and an illegal person pays is the income tax. And many illegal immigrants are paying that too.

    But I agree with you that low income people are more likely to be an economic drag (although I think you overstate the problem, because the economic benefits for a society to have low income workers have been highlighted time and time again). Where I disagree is that you think we're "stuck with native born" people but that we're NOT stuck with immigrants. I think we're "stuck" with both. That is, I don't see a mechanism to get rid of one group without violating the non-agression principle -- and if you think an exception should be made, then the same exception could be applied to natives.

  • vek||

    I'll tackle your first thing first. I don't think the NAP applies to unlimited international freedom of movement. I think borders exist, and I'm okay with enforcing them. I don't even care about a strict libertarian argument for it, but if you want one it is: Like it or not, we're all born into a covenant society that has rules. We don't get a chance to opt in, it's automatic, but we can opt out by moving. I'm cool with the covenants rules on having borders, even though I would like to change other rules.

    BAM DONE. As for natives, they were born here. So we're stuck with them. Those that aren't we should make reasonable efforts to keep them out if they're going to break our laws and fuck tax payers.

    An analogy might be this: If you're born with a retarded child, it is still your obligation to take care of them as a parent. BUT nobody has an obligation to ADOPT a retarded child just because there are some out there that could use help.

    Now, to the tax stuff. In ALL of those cases where they do pay taxes, they still generally pay LESS than higher income earners. Richer people have nicer houses, so higher property taxes. They usually pay more for tabs, and maybe have fancier cars that get worse mileage too. This is my entire point in native poor + illegals don't support themselves. That they pay SOME taxes means nothing, they don't pay enough to cover themselves.

  • vek||

    We're stuck with our poor, but why import people that will be a known drag? The economy needs some low end labor, but our economy is mostly moved away from this. Most of the low end jobs we've created are half useless filler jobs that exist only because wages have been pushed down so low. IMO if we didn't have so many illegals market rate wages would be higher than they are now, and fewer useless filler jobs would have been created. So maybe there would be 15% fewer Starbucks locations, but we'd have more people living with a higher standard of living, and the working poor would be closer to supporting themselves via taxes.

    I'm totally down for fee for use government, but it ain't there yet.

  • vek||

    "In the first place, immigrants --even the "illegal" kind-- produce much more than what they take. "

    BULLSHIT. Not in socialist America! ALL poor/low income people are a net drain on the middle class and wealthy in this country because of how big our government is. Illegals are almost 100% low income. If you make 30K a year doing grunt work, and have 3 kids in school THAT ALONE costs $36,000 a year on average in the USA. Before roads, water, police, etc.

    Basically anyone who makes less than 60Kish a year is a net tax drain on those above. Virtually NO illegals make that number, because almost none of them have highly valuable skills. Maybe some roofers or plumbers or something make that kind of cash, but it's a small percentage.

    HOWEVER most legal MERIT BASED immigrants make far more than that, and are actually net contributors. Am I insane for wanting people to move here who will reduce my tax burden, versus those that will increase it???

  • ||

    Who cares if the wall pays for itself? No one cares about any of our other deficit spending.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I do.

  • Tony||

    If he can't follow through with the original funding plan (Mexico), why bother going through with the rest of this ridiculous charade? It's not like his slack-jawed followers give a shit what campaign promises he keeps.

  • ||

    It's pretty clear that within his mish-mash of a political philosophy, his pure Nativism is relatively consistent. Tariffs, the wall and the anti-DACA stuff all are firmly rooted in Nativism. Things that Nativism doesn't speak to are things he's been far less consistent about.

  • Tony||

    And this coming from a guy who doesn't seem to care what country he's in when he's watching hookers piss on each other.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Is that what Bill Clinton is doing these days? Hillary looks to be politicking around.

    Haha. She's gonna run in 2020.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Why should anybody care about where anybody wants to (allegedly) watch hookers piss on each other? Are you not a supporter of the legalization of adults paying for, or selling, sex or whatever else 2 consenting adults want to do? Or are you just so anti-Trump that your TDS thinks that was even a remotely worthwhile "argument"?

  • Tony||

    I just think evangelical hypocrisy is hilarious. Or rather I would if it didn't affect my life so often.

  • vek||

    "his pure Nativism is relatively consistent."

    GOOD.

    It's about time we had a president who actually gives a shit about the country. I disagree with him on many things, but at least he is well intended at heart. Some piece of shit like Obama CLEARLY had nothing but disdain for this country, its founding ideals, the founding culture, and everything else. I'll take a few bad policies once in awhile to have somebody that actually LOVES being an American.

    We may be all fucked up now, but America is still the greatest nation in the history of mankind, on almost any level you care to think about. Political philosophy, economics, science, the arts, etc. We're top dog, or close to it, on almost everything, or were in the recent past anyway...

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Trust his actions, not his words. Trump saying that the wall will pay for itself means absolutely nothing. When he actually forces the wall to pay for itself, then you can talk about it.

    Eric, do you even read the comments section on this site, brah?

  • Pro Libertate||

    From Urkobold's "The Top 100 Things I'd Do if I Ever Became a Libertarian President #13":

    13. To the extent that welfare policies remain in place despite my best efforts, charge a per-person cover charge to each country that "allows" its citizens to illegally emigrate to the United States. However, the first drink is on the house and all domestic drafts are $2.00, call brands are $5.00. Complimentary buffet available from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. in most states.
  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    STOP LIVING IN THE PAST!

  • Pro Libertate||

    For the record, that was from 2007.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Ugh. I wrote in "Urkobold" on the presidential ballot in 2008 because of that list. Then i spent six months in Gitmo.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's right there in the Constitution that you can't do that.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yeah, well, you know. Hindsight.

  • buybuydandavis||

    We should be charging the countries of origin for the public services their citizens consume in the US.

  • Rebel Scum||

    "I'm gonna build the wall and make the wall pay for it."

  • Pro Libertate||

    License the border to Disney. Disney Border.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    Has the Center For Immigration Studies ever been right about anything?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Maintaining a free country costs money"

    That's what government is for.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    We're about to hit $21 trillion in total national debt any day now. Almost $12 trillion in new debt over the last 10 years, and an increase in the total debt-to-debt ratio from approximately 64% to approximately 103%.

    I'm not sure how much more of this sort of awesome "growth" and "benefits" our country can survive. And don't give me this bullshit that it's because revenue isn't high enough. Federal revenues are back to their Hauser's Law normal rate, and an all-time high in terms of total dollars.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Total debt-to-GDP ratio that is.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's THE question: How much debt can we withstand?

  • JFree||

    How much debt can we withstand?

    That's like asking how much can we drink if we put it all on our kids tab.

    Answer: It ain't us that's gonna hit the limit first. When our kids start killing us; then we are probably pretty close to the limit. When juries start nullifying any murder charges brought against them; then we are likely gonna get sober fast and start acting like adults. Until then, we will continue to act like drunken assholes.

  • JFree||

    On a related note:

    The real problem with school shooters is that they are stupid. Shooting the wrong targets. They should be heading into nursing homes and workplaces and such and shooting everyone over 30 or so. That's after all the whole purpose of the 2nd Amendment isn't it - to be able to defend oneself against one's oppressor?

  • ||

    We're about to hit $21 trillion in total national debt any day now. Almost $12 trillion in new debt over the last 10 years, and an increase in the total debt-to-debt ratio from approximately 64% to approximately 103%.

    Also one thing I think that is consistently failed to be pointed out, it is $21T in outstanding debt. When you talk about scaling back revenue and into the future, then unfunded obligations at the state and federal level come into play and number can get very much larger very quickly. Illinois' $14.6B in debt is a tough pill to swallow and its $6B annual deficit doesn't make it any easier but it's the $140B in pension liabilities (and the inability/refusal to do anything about it) that are killing it. Jerry Brown does/did something similar in CA where the current payments on debts outstanding is considered to be "the wall of debt" amounting to something like $26B while total obligations not yet paid are somewhere in the $400B-$1T range. Of course, CA is in better shape than IL to meet those obligations and pay off that debt and the US is in better shape than CA... but the point remains that we have $21T that's "due now" and another, larger (4-10X) amount that will just fill in the "due now" amount for the foreseeable future (and it's not entirely clear how, say, a failure of IL's economy would up-translate to the Federal books).

    Unless we fuck people and cut spending.

  • vek||

    The biggest are simply Social Security and Medicare. I read an article years ago that tallied up most of the government debts and unfunded future liabilities... It was around 100 TRILLION. And this is several years back. It's only worse now.

    Any idiot that thinks we're going to get through this without massive cuts sooner or later is triiiiiiiiippin'.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "We've got too much government debt to afford a country."

  • Rich||

    about a third of all illegal immigrants are people who came to the United States legally and simply overstayed their visa.

    "Call me 'Snake'."

  • Juice||

    Trump says _____ will _____. It won't.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Crusty's nonstop public onanism, abate

  • Tony||

    hooker pee, clear pores

  • Juice||

    So the new head of the CIA is a woman. I was just listening to the Freakanomics podcast (don't judge) and they were talking about the "Glass Cliff" which is a phenomenon that includes putting women in charge of failing or struggling organizations. According to the podcast, you usually see a woman become CEO of a large corporation when it's not doing so hot. So I would take the appointment to mean that the CIA is actually on the skids (in whatever way a huge government bureaucracy can be). Or, it could just be that she was next in line for torturer in chief.

  • DiegoF||

    As long as the lady receives a nice, generous glass parachute when all is done, I see no problem with it.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    AKA The Yahoo Effect.

  • Juice||

    Hmm. Now I'm reading that a bunch of CIA people are running as Democrats for Congress. WTF, people? Why go from The Deep State to just plain old The State? Anyway, it's weird and concerning.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, the CIA does have coup d'état experience.

  • DiegoF||

    If they are running as Democrats they will more accurately be going from The Deep State to The Derp State.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    According to the podcast, you usually see a woman become CEO of a large corporation when it's not doing so hot.

    Did they have statistical evidence to back this up or just feels?

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    According to the podcast, you usually see a woman become CEO of a large corporation when it's not doing so hot.

    Did they have statistical evidence to back this up or just feels?

  • vek||

    I've seen some numbers before. Don't remember details, but it's a thing. I would almost be inclined to believe it is reversed from the way people think of it... Boards or companies that would be inclined to have a female CEO are idiots who mismanage things, like going for diversity hires to look PC instead of hiring the best people... So they were fukked before they ever decided to make the ultimate PC jump to putting a woman in as CEO!

    It's not that there aren't exceptional women out there... There totally are. But most of the traits that make people hyper successful are typical male traits, which is why men dominate. The women that are good are those that have more masculine traits, like being aggressive, logical, etc. Picking a woman like that might not be bad for a CEO, but a PC company will probably pick a women who has "empathy, and understands that standing up for XXXXXX values matters as much as making a profit" or whatever. That ain't gonna work out well, unless you're in charge of a company that explicitly targets female demographics or something, where it works as a sales pitch.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    I'll border your wall!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I'll wall your border!

  • JBSparks||

    Regardless, it's needed. Consider it national defense. Otherwise, I hope the next victim of an illegal alien is someone close to you so that you can empathize.

  • ||

    For starters, about a third of all illegal immigrants are people who came to the United States legally and simply overstayed their visa. A border wall would do nothing to stop them.

    Not to recommend policy one way or the other but my understanding is that just by talking about it and getting elected, both immigration is down. The wall wouldn't physically and directly do anything to people who've overstayed their visa, but a general attitude of (again not exactly speaking to policy) "We don't take kindly to strangers." kinda refutes the notion of 'do nothing to stop them'. Again, not to recommend policy or anything, but if you were looking to decrease the share of the immigrant population, a suffering a Great Depression and getting involved with a World War have been phenomenally effective. Tough talk about immigration and a border wall is far preferable, especially when your "opposition" takes equally absurd stances regarding open immigration/foreign policy.

  • DiegoF||

    I never know how to evaluate claims about what the wall will or will not do. But the visa overstay thing is of course important to remember, which few (except in places like New York, where it is obvious) do. Seems to me there's been so much slacking in immigration enforcement throughout the years (fuck, one of the arguments current immanent deportees give is, "Look, they've been letting me stay for decades; I've built a life here in the interim; now they're telling me all of a sudden to get out; what a cruel betrayal!") that we could get a lot of mileage just out of getting serious about that.

    I wouldn't want mandatory e-Verify, which punishes us all with monstrous intrusiveness; or a revocation of birthright citizenship, which I consider a core American value. A wall, on the other hand, is just about the most benign and least intrusive thing we could do to enforce our laws. (The fact that the Democrats are fucking over their own supposedly beloved DACA babies to stop it because it "wastes money"--ha!--shows how craven and disgusting they are. Not to mention, of course, the fact that outside California they were to the right of Republicans on this issue until recently.)

    And, of course, if we give an inch on amnesty "this one last time and we mean it this time" we might as well throw in the towel on the whole thing, because we deserve to be overrun by people who regard us as a fucking joke.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Immigration rates have been going down much longer than that, by many estimates.

  • vek||

    Well, since the recession. But they dropped QUICK and in a big way once Trump won. It shows how easy it is to reduce, but not eliminate, the problem. The only reason it is so out of control is because people assume they'll get away with it most of the time. If the assumption was they will get busted in short order most of the time, far fewer would bother trying.

  • Longtobefree||

    Are there any studies about a wall without openings around DC?

  • DiegoF||

    "...And Maryland and Virginia will pay for it!"

    Which they would. Gladly.

  • Kivlor||

    Another thought about this whole "Build the Wall" business: How effective will it be at stopping immigration. The liberals and libertarians would have you believe that it won't stop anyone. I'm sure it will stop some, but the question would be whether or not it will stop enough to justify it's cost--compared to alternative methods.

    Do we have any modern examples of a nation building a border wall to stop people from crossing it's borders? Well, there's Hungary, and they claim that their 110 mile border wall has successfully reduced illegal crossing from ~10,000 per day to a few dozen per day. A substantial decrease indeed!

    Now, even if we look at the situation in Hungary, I find it questionable to believe that 99% of illegal immigrants were stopped by implementation of the wall and some policing, but perhaps they did. Certainly the Hungarian government has every reason to say it did, regardless of the real outcome. That said, I think it's hard to compare policing a 110 mile border wall with doing the same on a ~2,000 mile one.

  • ||

    I'm sure it will stop some, but the question would be whether or not it will stop enough to justify it's cost

    No, it won't. I work in construction in California where illegal immigration is pretty openly tolerated (see Libby Schaaf). I would say the illegal immigrants I've known have split pretty equally into three camps as far as how they got here:

    1) over the Canadian border (easy as pie)
    2) in shipping containers (also easy as pie)
    3) over the Mexican border (somewhat less easy than pie)

    Crowd #3 often also come in shipping containers, some come through tunnels, some swim it on the ocean side, and a small number cross the desert. Those who cross the desert are unlikely to be deterred by a wall in the middle of said desert.

  • Kivlor||

    To be clear Square, I don't think a wall in and of itself will do anything. But I think it would be foolish to pretend that building a wall as a symbol of your commitment to guarding the border and then actually policing the damn thing may very well have a significant effect.

    I don't think it will stop half of them, personally. And I agree, it's retarded to presume that they're all coming across the Mexican border, and not in shipping crates, or through other means.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Of course a wall won't stop all illegals.

    Its a symbol that America has taken back control of its border policy.

  • vek||

    Here's the thing... What if it stops 10%? Or 5% even? That will be potentially a million or two people over 2 decades. That's not so bad. That combined with increased enforcement on our side of the border could make a substantial impact.

    But yeah, it's also about SHOWING we're serious. Just Trump being in office has deterred potentially hundreds of thousands according to some estimates I have seen.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Cost-benefit. How much money and invasion of privacy/rights does it cost to stop 5%?

    The very same question should be asked of the war on drugs. If we are successfully stopping 5% of people who are likely to do drugs, and it costs $100B per year, is it money well spent?

    I asked somewhere else in the thread if there's any other item that the government manages that needs to invest MORE taxpayer money in order to ultimately save taxpayers money. I can't think of anything. And that's one of the reason why the conservatives' stance on immigration is so puzzling. Conservatives (usually) correctly acknowledge that government does things incredibly inefficiently and ineffectively. But immigration seems to be one of the few things where they don't believe that to be the case. I don't understand why.

  • vek||

    Well, I think with what we spend already we could probably get the job done. I guess it's just so many people are sooo pissed about the problem that they're like "Screw it, just spend the damn money, even if it only helps a little." That's kinda where I'm at.

    But I think it is possible that over the long haul it could pay for itself. It won't do it in 5 years or anything, but over 30... Who knows. It doesn't have to be that effective to work.

    Plus there is the greater importance of just having a real border. That is something that's hard to put a dollar value on. All these illegals, and their birthright citizenship children, have changed the country for the worse politically. My home state of California would not be nearly the shit show it is now without the Reagan amnesty, and all the illegals that came after. They literally ruined the greatest place in the country! What is that "worth" in dollars? How about tilting the entire country left?

    That's kinda my main angle honestly. Saving cash on welfare is cool, but preventing the entire country swinging to Bernie Sanders being electable is plenty important too. Trump WOULD NOT have won if illegals in the US had been given amnesty saaay 2 years ago and could vote. Trump sucks, but it's still a barometer that's useful for things like governorships etc.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "Well, I think with what we spend already we could probably get the job done."

    Said every advocate of the war on drugs ever. Or every advocate of government schools. Or every advocate of gun control. Or every advocate of alcohol prohibition. They all promise that making a thing illegal will stop its use, but it invariably does not. Government is not, and never has been, the solution to life's problems.

    How many more times do we have to keep TRYING something before we admit it doesn't work? Everybody always claims "yeah but *I* know the way to fix it", and it never, ever works. Why? Because the entire approach is flawed.

  • vek||

    Being of a government is always incompetent mind, I agree in general. But here's the thing, ALL of those programs DO accomplish some degree of what they set out to do. Don't they? They do it poorly, but they do get some things done. I mean I learned how to read, write, and do math in government schools.

    So I would NEVER believe we'll stop 100% of illegal immigration. That's a foolish idea. However there has been an intentional, and willful disregard of the law in this area for a long time. In other words, the government hasn't even been making its typical overpriced, half assed attempt at it. I'd like to see where we'd be if they were.

    I think it would drop the numbers A LOT from where they're at now. Growing up in Cali I could have literally pointed out 500 kids in my classes at my HS whose parents were all illegals. It's not a hard thing to figure out. They've just looked the other way on purpose. If they didn't,and started busting people more consistently, the chilling effect alone would cut numbers a LOT.

    I don't think they'll do a perfect job, but I'd like to see them make the same half assed attempt they do with other things, and get at least half assed results, instead of the 1/100th assed results we've got for the last few decades. We don't need 0 illegals for it to be a win.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    But here's the thing, ALL of those programs DO accomplish some degree of what they set out to do. Don't they?

    I don't know. My first inclination is to answer no. Because the unintended consequences (which are sometimes intended...) often outweigh the benefits. For example, there's a great deal of evidence that the war on drugs increases crime when it's primary motivation was to reduce crime. Government schools stifle education innovation and lead to complacent workers, which is the opposite of what it was intended (by some) to do. Gun control makes people less safe as a whole, even though it was designed to make people more safe. Also, all of those things cost waaaaaaaay more than they were ever imagined to cost.

    Additional immigration restrictions (including a wall) will be waaaaaaaay more expensive than we can possibly imagine right now. And like those other programs, the unintended consequences will invariably result in an increase in crime, income disparity, and corruption. How do I know this? Because ramping up immigration restrictions in this country has ALREADY led to those outcomes.

  • vek||

    Different issues have different kinds of blow back. If we cut illegal immigration by a decent amount, it will be an improvement.

    It will cost some amount of money, but I don't think it has to cost an insanely higher amount. It is one of the few things I am actually willing to pay money for that the government does. The unintended consequences need not be huge. I've never had my door kicked in by ICE, and neither have most other people. Does it happen? Sure. Same with trying to bust car thieves, sometimes they get the wrong address. But it's not common, and the negative side effects need not be large.

    As I said elsewhere, the future of the country is at stake. The illegals we already gave amnesty to during Reagan, and their kids, and current illegals kids are transforming the country for the worse. It is pushing shit left at a great pace. When Texas become Blue in a few years, or a decade, is that going to help lower taxes? Trump is pretty weak, but he's cutting taxes, regulations, etc. Rs suck. But Ds have LITERALLY NOTHING good to offer anymore.

    And conservatives are a lot more in line with libertarians on most issues. So going farther left, and the racial strife being caused, are going to destroy this country. I don't want that. So I say boot 'em all out!

  • jbsnc||

    Everett Dirksen: "A billion here, a billion there, soon it adds up to real money". Debt? About $21 trillion and climbing. Bush and Obama Congresses raised it by $15 trillion. Unfunded liabilities are $100 trillion or more, SS is sinking and Al Gore's Lock Box is a Myth as the excesses have been spent and the box contains IOUs. Big, big problems getting bigger. How many city/county/state governments are financially sound for the future? 65% And $16 billion or so is a big deal? Is not the main reason for kinda Open Borders to encourage illegal immigration?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Is not the main reason for kinda Open Borders to encourage illegal immigration?

    The main reason for open borders is to encourage LEGAL immigration. By definition.

  • Headache||

    Bullshit Open Borders = Globalism. The position here is not the cost. It is pure globalism, one world government otherwise Reason would have a piece about Schumer's $30 billion Gateway Project.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Really? Is your stance REALLY that Reason doesn't have pieces about government spending?

  • Myshkin78||

    Trumptards don't read

  • Empress Trudy||

    The sole reason Reason cares is because Reason doesn't fully embrace the notion of national borders or that immigration controls should exist. So any effort to do that is of course anathema.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I think it's simpler than that. If you replaced "Border Wall" with literally anything else, it would look like most of their other articles. Reason has been quite critical of the notion that increased spending pays for itself. They've spent a lot of time refuting the idea when it comes to sports stadiums, schools, drug policies, and just about everything else. They're only being consistent by including the border wall.

    In fact, can anyone think of something that the government should increase spending on that will pay for itself? I mean, I'm sure there might be something, but I can't think of a single thing right now.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Except Reason doesn't rely on shoddy data and shoddier analysis to come to the conclusion that sports stadiums are a net drain.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Proponents of public funding of sports stadiums disagree.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Can somebody explain the $74,000 per immigrant figure to me? This implies that an "illegal" family of four lives at the same standard of living as a "legal" family of four with an income of about $300,000 per year. That seems off by about an order of magnitude. What am I missing?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Let me put it a different way...
    If the cost to the government is $74,000 per person, then any family of four who DOESN'T pay $300,000 per year in income taxes to the state and federal governments is freeloading. Is that correct?

    I know, they receive free health care and potentially welfare, but neither of those should come anywhere close to $300k per year. There's some math here that I'm missing...

  • JFree||

    Well there's the cost of brown foreigners chasing after our white daughters. The cost of listening to foreign languages in the elevator. The cost of wasting time with the remote surfing over the foreign cable channels. And yeesh - just the amount of time wasted watching soccer instead of American sports - that's probably $74,000 right there.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Yeah! Do black people now.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    That figure is a total cost over the life of the immigrant, not annual cost.

  • vek||

    That could be high or low depending on the person, but I can see that being an average. We all know native born poor are a huge drain on everybody else because of all our socialized costs, so it only makes sense that a group that is almost universally low income will be a huge drag on everybody else over the poverty line.

    A single family with 3 kids could be -$36K a year just from sending them to school at average costs! Not to bring in roads, maintaining the military, or anything else. The couple grand such a low income person might pay in taxes per year doesn't even come close to covering things.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "so it only makes sense that a group that is almost universally low income will be a huge drag on everybody else over the poverty line."

    But HOW?

    You cite schools, military, roads, etc. But the rest of us "use" those services too. The only costly service a poor person uses more than a wealthy person would be free health care. That's not cheap, but (on average) it's not that expensive either, especially for the non-elderly.

    When you take into account the services the rest of us use that illegal immigrants generally do not -- which includes the court system, business infrastructure (e.g. IP enforcement, contract enforcement), and even the police, it seems to me that citizens are probably more costly on average than illegal immigrants. We simply have more services available to us.

    So, if we accept the argument that illegal immigrants are freeloaders, then those of us who aren't paying a substantial amount of income tax must also be freeloaders. The question I have is: how much is "substantial"?

  • vek||

    That's my whole point! To quote Mitt, half the country is freeloaders. That is our system as it presently exists.

    The question is, should we import EVEN MORE people who will be a net drag on people who DO pay taxes? Or should we import fewer? How about we import 6 figure immigrants that will lighten the burden instead of people that will add to it.

    Until our system is not socialized, this is real deal shit right here. If an illegal Mexican lawn guy moves in next door, my taxes will have to go up to cover his shit. If an Indian IT guy moves in, my taxe burden would be lowered because he's a net contributor.

    No socialist system can survive if the number of freeloaders overwhelms the number of producers. Since we CAN take in nothing but top flight immigrants, why would we not want to?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "The question is, should we import EVEN MORE people who will be a net drag on people who DO pay taxes? Or should we import fewer?"

    Since we're not actively importing people, and since there's a significant cost to preventing the flow of people (or even exporting them), the question should be framed differently. It should be: does it cost more to expel them than it does to passively allow them in? And given that virtually every other government program in the history of the US has been a net economic drain, despite being promised as a way to save money or bolster revenue, I'm very skeptical that this MASSIVE undertaking will save money. And I think the article highlights why -- 1) it's costly to do what's proposed; 2) the proposed solution is about as viable as the idea that a war on drugs will limit drug use in an appreciable way.

    I think it's obvious that if cost is truly your sole motivating factor, then the solution is the abolition of the INS and all local support it requests, closing (or selling off) the jails, and restricting government services to fewer people by requiring more stringent authentication methods.

  • vek||

    Look, I believe in nation states with borders. Your argument is exactly the same as saying that we should have ZERO police in the country period. The exact same logic could be used. Government is always bad, so have zero of it!

    But clearly that is ridiculous. I'm not an anarchist. Neither is almost anybody else. However I think the police argument is actually a good one to make the point. Perhaps we have too many laws, or bad laws that are enforced. I surely believe that. This may be a waste of taxpayer money by having too many police, or having them doing the wrong things. Sounds about right! But that doesn't mean we should have ZERO police.

    What one needs to do is try to make the laws and policies as reasonable as possible, and have some reasonable equilibrium between costs/benefits, which includes non monetary things. Illegal immigration is not merely a cost thing to me, or most people. The political impacts of having birthright citizenship for all the children of illegals is a far more important long term impact than paying for illegals kids to go to school IMO.

  • vek||

    America is teetering on the edge of obliteration as what it was originally intended to be. If you look through voting demographics, this is almost entirely because of non whites, and in recent years mostly Hispanics that came here illegally and were granted amnesty by Reagan, and the kids born here to other illegals not yet given amnesty.

    Basically non white voting has destroyed the idea of America as intended. And women of all races to a large degree as well, if we want to be truthful. These are statistical facts. You can dislike them all you want, but it is true. Look up voting and opinion polls and it is plain as day to see in the numbers. These groups all love big government, socialism, and perceived security over freedom.

    With women it is largely biological (see studies of female psychology for proof), but with immigrant men I think it is a combo of culture from whence they came being broken in these regards, and the perception of themselves as being "oppressed" that they were instilled with by leftists. For all practical intents and purposes it doesn't matter why, because it is factually true. They favor all the wrong things by a large majority.

    White Americans, especially white men, are literally THE ONLY GROUP that believes in the foundational beliefs of this country. PERIOD. Every election, or opinion poll ever done shows this. Native white Americans have got crappier too, but not to nearly the same degree.

  • vek||

    A solid majority of white Americans still believe in free speech, gun rights, and the general idea of limited government, even if politicians haven't implemented their will very well, it is their desired scenario.

    So when you combine costs and negative economic issues from illegal immigration PLUS the political ramifications, I'm totally fine with spending a little $ to maintain a better situation.

    People who think this current trend is going to change are denying the objective reality that is right in front of their faces. It won't change. It is only going to get worse politically, and the infighting over everything non political between racial groups will only get worse too.

    I'm not libertarian to the point of being suicidal, and immigration is going to destroy this country politically speaking. Unskilled immigration will also destroy it economically. So I'm for limited high skill immigration only, which will temper both of those issues tremendously.

    This makes me authoritarian in this area... But so what? Like I said I'm not for freedom to the point of suicide. I'm okay with a few carve outs from extreme libertarian principle where there are such painfully obvious negative real world outcomes on the line. If supporting one so called right, unlimited freedom of international movement, will destroy every other freedom I love, I say fuck that freedom. It's no great immorality to me to "force" somebody to stay in their home country, so I won't be losing any sleep over it.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    If you look through voting demographics, this is almost entirely because of non whites

    So you're not talking about foreigners. You're talking about non-whites. Gotcha.

    For what it's worth, latinos are more likely than white people to vote for libertarians. So maybe we should pass a law to allow only latinos to vote?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Well, I don't think it's ridiculous at all to suggest that we have no police, as a number of scholars have pointed out many times that a free market solution exists. But whatever. I'm on board with the idea of having locally managed police forces, so I'm not going to argue the point.

    But can't you see that immigration control is something ENTIRELY different? Your argument that a nation with borders necessitates immigration restriction is a circular argument. My suggestion is that you can have both a nation with borders AND choose to not adopt immigration restrictions. You can't continually hang your hat on the idea that having a nation means that you have to also restrict people's freedom of movement. If a democrat were to adopt your logic, he might say that a nation with borders REQUIRES that we also have national management of currency. Or that a nation with borders REQUIRES that we also have cops, and that it's reasonable for those cops to confiscate guns. But clearly one does not require the other.

    So I have no real rebuttal to your post. Yes, we are a nation with borders. We are a nation of laws. Fine. But my stance is that we're a nation with laws, and those laws SHOULDN'T include immigration restrictions, and they sure as hell shouldn't include massive multi-billion dollar projects.

  • vek||

    Wow 4% of Latinos (or whatever) vote Libertarian instead of 2% of whites! I'm part Mexican, maybe that's why I'm mostly libertarian!!! :/ Except even more of them vote for explicit leftist positions!

    Latinos are, more or less in the context of the US, non whites. All other non whites vote left too. More Latinos = more leftist votes. It's not hard to get. I wish we had some model minority that didn't like bigger government... But other than the highly self selected Cubans, no such group exists.

    This is just realpolitik shit here man. I don't like it, but it is what it is. Everybody that isn't a honky wants to destroy everything that made America the best country in the history of the world. It's not my fault! But it has showed ZERO sign of changing. So for real world purposes, letting in floods of people who have decades worth of data showing they will vote against all libertarian/conservative principles... I don't want to let them in!

    I DON'T CARE about the moral arguments. It's a horrible PRACTICAL decision to make if you value freedom.

    If you are really so naive that you believe the USA could exist as anything desirable with open borders, you are a fool. We cannot. The entire middle class would be wiped out by wages falling to balance out with global income levels. The country would swing to AT LEAST European levels of socialism overnight. Gun rights would go out the window. We are guaranteed to have the level of racial strife we have now times 1000 too.

  • vek||

    These are logical and reasonable real world outcomes. Only a blind man can't see those things are all likely. How do you people not see these obvious outcomes?

    If you're willing to give up all the freedoms we have, destroy the standard of living for 80% of the country, and probably cause a friggin' race war ALL so that you can feel good about eliminating immigration laws... Then you're a fucking mad man.

    Even if freedom of movement IS a moral decision, it's a bad practical one. That's why NOBODY except insane international communists (and naive libertarians!) believes in it! Doing the moral thing is NOT always the most practical thing. Some libertarians can't grasp this sometimes. Sometimes shooting somebody proactively may be in your best interests when it's clear they intend future harm, but haven't YET violated the NAP.

    If you wanted to have a true libertarian society, the only way you could maintain it would be through non libertarian means. Like having a border. Having laws that at least restricted voting to people who passed an ideological purity test. Otherwise you'd be overwhelmed by statists, because most of the world is statist! Yet that would be very unliberarian right? But it's the only way it could be maintained... You short circuited yet??? Same thing here. Get it?

    So, unfortunately, since nobody but native born white folks likes the idea of America, I'm gonna have to pass on being all gung ho about letting more foreigners in.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Ah, thank you! That clears things up.

  • The gouch||

    When THESE Illegal PARASITES Leave,, they'll be off welfare, that will save the taxpayer 5B..

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    When did this ostensibly libertarian site begin to attract so many authoritarian, intolerant, backward right-wingers?

    (probably near the time so many sheepish conservatives began to masquerade about in shabby, flimsy libertarian drag, trying to explain why intolerance-based immigration restrictions, government micromanagement of certain clinics, the drug war, criminalization of abortion, torture, abusive policing, second-class treatment of gays, military belligerence, and the like are libertarian positions, if only they could be properly understood)

  • buybuydandavis||

    Dunno.

    It started attracting SJWs intent on destroying America maybe 3 years ago.

  • shawn_dude||

    How, exactly, does a wall stop a boat? Both the California and Gulf Coast are reachable by boat and Mexico has ample coastline along each.

    Nor can a wall stop a flying drone carrying drugs. Or a tunnel. Or a ladder.

    It's a boondoggle and political theater, nothing more.

  • Headache||

    What, you prefer bullets?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Simple solution. Replace beach with walls. Beach doesn't matter either.

  • billdeserthills||

    Instead of building the wall perhaps the armed folks near the border could just begin shooting every illegal seen on sight--That should help dissuade illegals from coming around

  • Anarchist||

    Don't give a fuck how much the wall cost. Don't give a fuck how effective it is. I would cut all food stamps, CHIP, Medicaid, etc... just to build the wall as a symbol alone. Fuck Mexico, Fuck Mexicans and Fuck this jew "reporter"

  • Tony||

    The Trump base ladies and gentlemen.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony, your the lefty base. You are okay with genocide of Americans who will not cooperate with the socialist revolution. You support the Democrats who founded the KKK, implemented Jim Crowe laws, and have started most of the wars that the USA has been involved in.

  • Tony||

    I think you need some herbal tea.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The Trump base doesn't usually call itself "Anarchist".

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    the Center for Immigration Studies—an anti-immigration think tank that has been pushing the wall-will-pay-for-itself narrative pretty much since Trump took office

    Well, thanks for outlining the positions of the sources so I can better evaluate the credibility of their claims.

    (next paragraph of article)

    The $18 billion figure relies on "unrealistically cheap construction costs and outrageous estimates of the number of illegal immigrants that it will deter," wrote Alex Nowrasteh and David Bier, a pair of immigration policy experts at the Cato Institute, in an analysis of the center's border wall projections last year.

    Wait, what is this Cato Institute? What is their position on immigration? I really would like to know because it will help me evaluate the credibility of their claims.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    There's a reasonable expectation that the readership here knows the Cato Institute and may not know what the Center for Immigration Studies is.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    LOL, spin baby spin.

  • Kivlor||

    Cato may not be friendly to the nativists, but they have a point on cost. This is going to be a massive undertaking, and virtually all massive national projects like this end up costing a TON more than they are advertised as costing. The overbudget on things like this is usually double what the projection originally was.

    You can be a complete nativist and think that we need to carefully consider the costs here.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    The Department of Homeland Security estimates that each mile of the border wall will cost about $17 million—including the cost of buying or seizing land along the border from private owners—and therefore a 1,900-mile wall would end up costing taxpayers around $28 billion.

    Actually the DHS estimate was $21.6B total, because the wall would be 1250 miles long. Which is literally right after the per-mile estimate in the Cato article, so you intentionally avoided using the actual length and made up your own.

    And after you build a wall, you have to maintain it. Those maintenance costs will leave taxpayers with an additional $48.3 billion tab for the wall's first decade alone.

    Wrong again. The Cato estimate of $48.3B is the total cost of the wall plus maintenance. It is not an additional maintenance cost.

    Each of those 5,000 agents will cost taxpayers more than $100,000 in annual pay and benefits, amounting to a decade-long personnel cost of over $6 billion. And that's still not a full summation of the costs involved, since it does not include the equipment border agents will use to apprehend immigrants, or the legal costs associated with convicting, jailing, or deporting those border-crossers.

    Now this is getting ridiculous. These costs have nothing to do with whether there is a wall or not. You can't possibly be stupid enough to argue that not having a wall will mean fewer BP agents needed to patrol the border.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Now that we've dealt with Boehm's interpretational flaws, let's move on to the Cato study's flaws. Starting with Table 1, New Central American & Mexican Immigrants by Age & Education in 2015.


    ........................0-24 25-64 65+
    Less than HS 18.93% 25.73% 1.94%
    HS Grad 10.19% 18.45% 0.49%
    SC 2.91% 9.22% 0.97%
    College 0.97% 5.83% 0.00%
    College+ 0.00% 4.37% 0.00%

    Source: March 2016 CPS

    Seems a bit surprising that nearly 5% of illegals 25-64 have graduate degrees, 10% have college degrees, and 20% have at least some college? Until you realize that Cato is playing one of its favorite tricks -- using stats for legal immigrants, and applying those to illegals. (The source used does not separate out illegal immigrants.) Indeed the specific stats they're citing are nowhere to be found in the March 2016 CPS; perhaps they're referring to the "detailed data tables" which are no longer available from the site, but that's a shoddy job of citing.

    In addition, the vast age range there makes the stats fairly useless. If the stats are based on a uniform distribution of ages between 25-64, but the true distribution for illegals skews toward the younger end, as seems likely, that means the illegals are even less likely to have college or graduate degrees, and will spend more years here consuming more welfare services, making them cost even more.

  • vek||

    I've seen before (don't remember the source, but seemed credible at the time), that the average education level of an illegal Mexican immigrant is 8th grade. 8TH FRIGGIN' GRADE! And of course that was in Spanish, not English. So these are people who can't even read/write in their native language well in many cases, and probably don't know shit all of math either.

    There are probably next to zero college level people coming in illegally, because that can have a better life in Mexico than here. If you're an accountant who could make decent money in Mexico in your real profession, moving here and not being able to use your degree most likely, you are probably going to have a lower standard of living. Who would do that?

    And that's precisely why almost all illegals are from the lowest parts of Mexican society.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    And of course, the central flaw is that nobody includes the costs of maintaining something in its cost. If somebody says that a car costs $20K, do you inveigh against them for not including the cost of gasoline, repairs, oil changes, insurance, and registration and title fees? Of course not. The latter total may be important but it is not what people mean when they discuss how much something costs.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    do you inveigh against them for not including the cost of gasoline, repairs, oil changes, insurance, and registration and title fees? Of course not.

    If you're being competent in your analysis you do. That's one of the main things people fail to account for in the quest for home ownership, for example. Maintenance costs ABSOLUTELY belong. And they should be considered every time the government suggests a new program.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Holy cow. The source for their maintenance estimate is a Politico article from 2015, which extrapolates from a pretty lousy source itself:

    In this year's budget request, the Obama administration asked for $274 million to maintain the fence that's already there. Upkeep for a fence that's nearly three times longer would cost at least $750 million per year, assuming that a Trump administration wants to make sure its fence is in tip-top shape.

    Very questionable assumptions being made there, starting with assuming the asking price is actually what is needed. Unexplainably, the Cato piece pads it up to $1.69B per year just to be safe -- with no source or explanation for this inflated number.

  • n00bdragon||

    I like how the article just takes the assumption that immigrants are a net drain on America's finances and runs with it so that it can dispute it on exactly how -much- of a drain they are. Where do you end when the default assumption is that able bodied working people are a drain on society? Are able bodied working americans ALSO a drain on society (that is for some reason acceptable)? Or is it just mexicans that "don't pull their weight"?

    Like seriously though. What if you just got rid of the entire border patrol entirely and set up a kiosk handing out employment tax IDs to anyone who wanted to walk into the US? Save the US $18B a year (not that anyone counts money anymore) straight up AND you get to generate tax revenue from all those people.

    "But what about all the freebies they will leech!?"

    The freebies aren't sustainable now. No one shows any interest in paying for them as they are. Either they'll continue to shell out forever from the magical trust fund in the sky or they'll collapse like they were going to anyway. The immigrants don't change anything. All they do is make us confront our decisions and policies (for better and for worse) more quickly, and I don't see how that's a bad thing. Maybe in light of that we'll start making good ones.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Able bodied working people

    Dude. It's not 1910. Unskilled jobs are vanishing. The idea that illegals don't collect welfare is just a bit of cosmotarian global elite propaganda. Of course they do.

    Are able bodied working americans ALSO a drain on society

    If their families are collecting welfare they are. But the solution to having a bunch of useless native mouths to feed is not to add a bunch of useless foreign mouths to feed.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Your use of the word "useless" highlights the inherent collectivism in your argument.

    Reason is being entirely consistent in their opposition to collectivism and government projects. Conservatives, as usual, are not.

  • vek||

    WRONG COMPLETELY.

    It is a FACT that the native born poor do not support themselves either. In our socialized system you have to make about 60K a year and above to even be BREAK EVEN in the consumption of government services. And that's assuming you don't actually take any explicit welfare. That's just for shit like the roads, schools, military etc.

    So here's the thing: We're stuck with native born blow it cases. But we don't have to import MORE people that are a drag on everybody else. If we import Comp-Sci grads from Europe or India or whatever, they will make for a net reduction in taxes shouldered by Americans. Low/no skill people will increase the share that will have to be shouldered.

    That's just how our society is structured right now. I use basically zero government services other than roads and stuff that can't be avoided. I refused to take unemployment benefits when I could have once or twice when I was younger. Yet I pay out the ass. I pay out the ass so that dishwashers can not only pay nothing, but in fact receive food stamps and section 8, etc.

    My neighbor across the street, an Indian IT guy also pays out the ass. He removed some of that burden from me. If he'd been an illegal Mexican, he would have added to it. I know which one I'd rather have living there!

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "That's just for shit like the roads, schools, military etc."

    What happens when people don't WANT roads, schools, or military? Are you a freeloader when government is hoisting so-called services on you that you never asked for?

    The poor don't want government and don't need government. Government's health care system, the government schooling- and licensure-based caste system, and cronyism that has pervaded every facet of US economy are obstacles to socioeconomic mobility. The government WANTS people on welfare, and they're constructed their economic and criminal justice systems accordingly. So when someone is the target of this system, are they REALLY "using" services?

  • vek||

    "The poor don't want government and don't need government."

    LOLOLOLOLOL What world are you living in??? A big percentage of the poor not only want, BUT DEMAND, more government. They may not need it, but they're mostly too brainwashed/stupid to know that! Hispanics specifically DO want more government according to polls.

    I agree with you though. I don't want most of the crap the government spends my money on. But lots of people do. Whatever the case, you're making an irrelevant theoretical argument. I think we should cut government to the bone, but it ain't there yet.

    So for all practical intents and purposes you're just blowing smoke out your ass. For the time being all of those things DO exist, they ARE being paid for by people like me, whether people want it or not. So FOR NOW you need to take these things into account.

    Sometimes there is an order you need to tackle a problem in. If you're trying to put an engine together, and you start putting it together in the wrong order, you cannot complete its assembly. So it is here. IF we ever want to not have negative consequences from freeloader immigrants, then we need to get rid of all the socialized costs first. Otherwise we're slitting our own throats with every single low income immigrant we allow in.

    IF we ever have such a situation, I will revisit the idea of low skill immigration. But costs on taxpayers is probably my #2 or 3 reason I dislike mass low skill immigration anyway, so I probably still won't change my mind.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Hispanics specifically DO want more government according to polls.

    The Cato Institute's recent study disagrees with you.

    I'm not talking about theoretical anything. I offered (in my opinion) the easiest and simplest way of reducing the costs associated with illegal immigrants: and that is to have a fucking IT guy build an electronic interface and authentication method to prevent non-citizens from using services intended for citizens. Like how every bank ever manages to do it. That's not an endorsement of any of those government services, by the way. It's quite the opposite of "theoretical" actually -- it's acknowledging that those shitty government services aren't going anywhere, and it's devising a simple way to prevent their abuse. That's all.

    The other non-theoretical way to reduce the burden of low income people is to start charging illegal immigrants income tax. There's only one sure-fire way of doing that. I'll let you guess what that is.

    So if you want to talk about the order that you apply solutions to welfare abuse, it's ABSOLUTELY ABSURD to start anywhere other than the welfare system itself and the chinks in its armor that lead to abuse. You have the order all wrong.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    And speaking of theoretical -- your assertion that a federal restriction on a popular behavior will actually work (for the first time ever) is pretty much the definition of theoretical. The US *currently* spends more than any other country in the world on the infrastructure to process, restrict, and dissuade immigration. And you yourself argue that it's ineffective.

    You remind me of the democrats who insist on continuing to throw money at the school system. We spend more on schools than anybody, and their failure is obvious -- but just a little more money, that's all that's needed and suddenly things will work just great. Sure.

  • vek||

    Ugh. If CATO has a survey that shows Hispanics want smaller government... I'm sorry, it's probably wrong. There have been A LOT of surveys and studies done over the years, and other than Cubans, they all desire more government every single time. Even if one study says otherwise, it's probably an anomaly.

    I would not be opposed to putting in the stuff you propose. That's fine as an addition to our current system, plus whatever other future improvements.

    You really underestimate the "fear" factor I think. One of the main reasons they come is because they have an assumption we won't do shit. Because we haven't done shit for decades. If that changed, it would reduce the number inbound considerably. Especially if we announced something like putting AI to work sorting out fake SSNs, fake names, etc and actively busting 100% of people that get fingered this way. We could high tech this problem and obliterate it.

    It will cost money. I'm just saying it will be worth it. Bear in mind, NO OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH has anywhere near the problem we do. They all also have more consistently enforced their laws. I'm better there's a connection to be found somewhere there... We could just start shooting them like they do at Mexico's southern border! It works okay for them!

  • vek||

    So much dumb I don't even know where to start. I didn't read any of the comments above, but may swing back around to.

    First, and most importantly, OVER WHAT PERIOD OF TIME? It all hinges on this.

    The fact is that most illegal immigrants, who are almost universally low income poor people, ARE a net tax drain, just like all native born poor. There are at least a few million illegal immigrant children in the country, and at the oft cited 12,000 a year per child for education ALONE, that is far more than the cost of the wall, per year. For every million illegal children that is 12 BILLION a year, but there are a lot more than a mere 1 million. Frankly nobody knows for sure, but it is multiple millions.

    Then account for everything else their paltry wages don't cover that natives have to subsidize more, like roads, bridges, water, etc. We're stuck with native poor, we don't need to import more impoverished people!

    The wall only needs to prevent a small number of people over a long period of time to work out quite nicely. If you accounted for costs over 30 or 50 years, it would be an easy win for taxpayers. Yes the GDP will not grow faster without illegals... But NOBODY but billionaires cares about overall GDP, GDP per capita is what 99% of people care about... And illegals drag that number down. Hell I'm a business owner who can benefit from cheap labor and higher overall GDP, but I still don't want to live in a 3rd world toilet with lower standard of living across the board.

  • DontLoseYourHead||

    Tax remittances and any wire transfers to Mexico at the highest US income tax rate. If the taxes were already paid, then either set up an exemption system with the IRS or prove after the fact by going to the IRS to get a refund. That will pay for the wall.

    Oh, and don't forget to CUT WELFARE PAYMENTS to ALL illegal aliens. Money saved will pay for the wall.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Translation: increase taxes and its burden on the economy to pay for the wall.

  • Nardz||

    How do remittances help the US economy?

  • vek||

    That would specifically be taxing mostly Mexican nationals sending money out of the country to back home... A huge chunk of Mexicos entire economy is just money legal and illegal immigrants send back home to relatives. That money mostly doesn't do a damn thing good for people actually in America. It's not that immigrants shouldn't have the ability to help out family back home, whether they're Mexican or French... It's kind of a bullshit tax to have, but I wouldn't lose much sleep over it.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    That money mostly doesn't do a damn thing good for people actually in America.

    Yes it does. In fact, if they took that money and lit it on fire, it would be beneficial to everyone else. Adds scarcity to the dollar (ie. helps combat inflation), and therefore a net gain for other people who have dollars. When you consider what they traded to acquire that money, it's an even stronger economic benefit.

    Only keynesians and socialists would argue that it's not economically beneficial.

  • vek||

    You're fucking joking right???

    If somebody makes $500,000 working in the US over a period of years, and spends that all here, then $500,000 is spent into the US economy.

    If somebody makes that same $500,000 and sends $250,000 to another country, they only spend $250,000 into the US economy.

    In what retarded world is $250,000 LESS spent into the economy better??? There is no such world. They may have done work to earn it of course, but somebody who also did the same work to earn it, and KEPT it here, benefits the US economy far more.

    Don't be fucking daft trying to refute every single one of the myriad of small problems immigrants have. Legal immigrants do the same thing a lot of the time. And that's fine. But to deny that it isn't preferable for it to stay stateside is retarded.

  • Frozen||

    It will pay for itself, we spend over 118 billion a year on illegal immigrants and their children.. and they only pay in 18 billion in taxes.. so yes it will pay for itself many times over

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Easily. The only reason these people say otherwise is that they believe in open borders no matter what.

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