AP FACT CHECK: Trump wrong about illegal immigration costs
Published 8:11 am Thursday, December 6, 2018
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is spreading misleading numbers about the cost of illegal immigration.
As he tries to pressure Democrats to fund his long-promised southern border wall, Trump is claiming the country loses $250 billion a year on illegal immigration. But it remained unclear Tuesday where Trump had found that number, which is dramatically higher than previous estimates.
A look at his claim:
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TRUMP: “Could somebody please explain to the Democrats (we need their votes) that our Country losses (sic) 250 Billion Dollars a year on illegal immigration, not including the terrible drug flow. Top Border Security, including a Wall, is $25 Billion. Pays for itself in two months. Get it done!” — tweet Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Trump’s numbers left even those sympathetic to the president’s position scratching their heads.
“I’m not sure where the president got his numbers,” said Dave Ray, a spokesman for the nonprofit group FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for lower immigration numbers.
Neither the White House nor the Department of Homeland Security responded to questions Tuesday about where the $250 billion estimate had come from.
The Heritage Foundation, for instance, estimated in 2013 that households headed by immigrants living in the U.S. illegally impose a net fiscal burden of around $54.5 billion per year.