Costs of an Open Border

It is increasingly evident that the U.S. southern border is, essentially, open.

Heritage study notes that “When the Trump administration ended, the U.S. was deporting more people than were illegally coming into the country. In less than a month under Biden, the number of people illegally coming into the country grew to more than 6,000 per day—that’s six times the crisis level as set by the Obama team.”

According to World, around 1.89 billion people, or nearly 36% of the world’s population, live in extreme poverty. Nearly half the population in developing countries endure on less than $1.25 a day. In Latin America alone, notes one source, “30.1% of those live in poverty Continuing the upward trend that has been recorded since 2015 in Latin America, 30.1% of the region’s population was below the poverty line in 2018, while 10.7% lived in situations of extreme poverty –rates which are seen rising to 30.8% and 11.5%, respectively, in 2019.”

Almost all of those, worldwide and especially in Latin America, would benefit by moving to the U.S. No fair accounting could conclude that the U.S. could absorb any significant portion of the impoverished Central American poor.

Even before the latest surge, the cost to the U.S. taxpayers was enormous. The Federation for American Immigration Reform provides this estimate of costs: “At the federal, state, and local levels, taxpayers shell out approximately $134.9 billion to cover the costs incurred [by illegal immigration.]

This is distinct from legal immigration. Legal immigrants generally add to, rather than subtract, from the U.S. Treasury.

In terms of health, the dangers from illegal immigration are not limited to the widely publicized incidents of COVID being brought into the nation. The medical site SMA reports that “Illegal immigration may expose Americans to diseases that have been virtually eradicated [within the U.S.], but are highly contagious.”

Judicial Watch analysis of federal statistics notes that “Seventy percent of illegal Aliens in federal jails were convicted of  non-immigration crimes…The U.S. government spent at least $162 million last year to incarcerate tens of thousands of criminal illegal immigrants for committing crimes that include rape, murder, kidnapping and terrorism.”

An analysis of the illegal immigration and the drug trade notes that “Drug trafficking and [illegal] immigration are strongly correlated because most of the illegal drugs that enter the United States originate outside the country. Thousands of undocumented immigrants from various countries work as couriers, smuggling narcotic and other banned drugs into the United States.”

Even more dire consequences loom. The Center for Immigration Studies  reports that “15 suspected terrorists have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, or en route, since 2001. The 15 terrorism-associated migrants who traveled to the U.S. southern border likely represent a significant under-count since most information reflecting such border-crossers resides in classified or protected government archives and intelligence databases.”

The impact on those seeking illegal entry is disastrous. According to the Department of Homeland Security, rape is commonplace. Video of children as young as three being tossed over 14-foot walls, and thrown overboard from boats have horrified viewers.  People in general are being starved or endangered from lack of water.

American taxpayers and illegal immigrants themselves suffer from open border policies, but drug cartels are profiting. In a Fox interview, Arizona Sheriff Mark Dannels, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and the border security chairman of the National Sheriffs’ Association, claimed that migrants are paying cartels up to $6,000 to help smuggle them across the border. The new arrivals are then exploited by the cartels with drugs, gangs and sex trafficking.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government.

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