Donald Trump released the specifics of his immigration plan a few days ago, and it’s an expensive one, for a variety of reasons.
Bloomberg reports that because the Trump plan includes a lot of specifics, it can be “scored,” as they say in government circles. Here are the main items:
- Deport all 11 million undocumented residents.
- End birthright citizenship.
- Triple the number of border agents.
- Build a wall (paid for by Mexico).
There are a couple of obvious problems with his ideas, the first being the pesky issue of the constitution granting citizenship to anyone who is born on U.S. soil, regardless of the citizenship status of his or her parents. Ending birthright citizenship can only be achieved with a constitutional amendment, which has about as much chance of happening as Trump actually getting a reasonable looking haircut.
Then there’s the issue of the wall. We’re going to build it, and Mexico’s going to pay for it? Trump says that it can be paid for by impounding money sent by undocumented workers to their families in Mexico, which, according to Trump, accounts for $22 billion a year. But, as Dan Primack points out in Fortune, that $22 billion figure includes all money sent to Mexico, not just that coming from those who are in the U.S. illegally.
In addition, Primack notes, Trump assumes that money will continue to be sent via wire transfer, which is traditionally how it has been done. However, more payments are being sent using Bitcoin, and other “alternative currencies,” which would make impounding them almost impossible.
Bloomberg’s report focuses mainly on the idea of deporting all of the undocumented workers currently in the country, and finds that the move would have serious repercussions on the U.S. economy. Not only would deporting 11 million people be outrageously expensive, Trump’s assumption that deporting these workers would have a positive effect on wages might be flat out wrong.
These are what Bloomberg sees as the problems with removing undocumented workers from the U.S. economy:
- The supply of workers would shrink drastically.
- Service and construction sectors would be severely hurt by lack of workers.
- Native workers would not get raises.
- The unemployment rate would go up.
- The Social Security and Medicare funds would get less money.
The wage issue is of particular importance. It is assumed that undocumented workers receive lower wages, because of being paid “under the table.” This, it is believed, brings down wages for everyone. But some studies are finding that when undocumented workers take jobs at the bottom of the wage scale, it actually pushes other workers into more skilled, higher-paying jobs.
Here’s a report on the details of the Trump immigration plan, via Bloomberg Politics:
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons