This is part of a series examining what would happen if Trump were president. In part one we went over the similarities and differences between Donald Trump’s Presidency and Adolph Hitler’s Reich. This part will focus on immigration, the economy (in part), and the effectiveness of a physical barrier at the southern border. This article will contain hyperlinks to sources if one were so inclined to fact check this article.
Let’s begin. You ready Donald?
Likely Scenario: On Donald Trump’s first day as President of the United States, the Mexican government was given an ultimatum: Either give the United States a one-time payment of approximately $8 billion, or the United States will make it illegal for unauthorized immigrants to send money to our neighbors just over the southern border. Mexico folded, and the money was set to be given to the U.S. in four installments of $2 billion over the course of four years.
Immigration numbers were stunted at first due to higher visa costs and tensions between the U.S. and Mexico, but they began to steadily rise after some time passed and things smoothed over.
The border wall, in conjunction with a better vetting process and more I.C.E. agents, has lowered the illegal immigrant border crossings by a whopping 99% (yes, really. We’ll get to the reasoning soon enough). This, combined with Trump’s revised tax system, bolsters the economy massively. (More about this topic in What If Donald Trump Were President: ‘He Would Ruin The Economy’.)
Reasoning: Currently, around $25 billion gets sent to Mexico each year by immigrants—both legal and illegal—within the United States. To put this in perspective, Mexico made $23.4 billion from their oil industry in 2015. In addition, 25% of Hispanics in the United States are unauthorized. Keeping exactly in line with the stats, we assume that 25% of that $25 billion came from those same unauthorized people.
This would mean that, each and every year, the Mexican economy receives at least $6.25 billion from unauthorized persons within the United States. That number is likely too low due to unauthorized persons not reporting their residence in the United States—for obvious reasons. The U.S. Census Bureau speculates that 15.7 million people total, around 34% of the Hispanic population, are unauthorized immigrants; most of whom came from Mexico. Adjusting for this margin of error and subtracting the number of people who came from other countries, approximately $8 billion funnels into Mexico’s economy each year from undocumented immigrants living in the United States. That number gets a lot higher when other things are factored in, but for the sake of partisan fairness that figure will be left alone.
The decision is a no-brainer for Mexico. If they don’t pay the one-time fee, they will lose $8 billion a year, minimum, for the rest of Trump’s tenure as President of the United States—that’s $32 billion. $8 billion—about half of NASA’s annual budget—over four years was what I’d assume the Mexican government would be willing to give based on their history of negotiations with the United States.
“But what if the wall ends up costing more than $8 billion?” In this case, unfortunately for Trump’s more stubborn critics, Mexico would still be paying for the wall. This is made possible by increasing the fee for work visas and enforcing trade tariffs. No matter what, Mexico would pay for the wall in one way or another.
“So the wall is up, but how is it stopping people from entering the United States? If a forty-foot wall goes up, the sale of forty-one foot ropes goes up right along with it. Or, they’d just tunnel under the wall like El Chapo when he escaped from prison!”
Well, a border wall would keep people out because it is a massive, solid wall. The sale of forty-one foot ropes can go up all it wants, but if they were to get over that wall they would next have to get past the border patrol officials, and then the police, and then Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Also, the wall would extend more than a few feet underground; digging under it is out of the question unless Wily Coyote is an illegal immigrant trafficker. In which case it would be a lot more effective to just launch immigrants out of canons or catapults (I didn’t start this ridiculous argument, don’t blame me).
All jokes aside, walls are effective at making sure whatever is behind that wall is protected from intrusions by people outside of it. Ignoring the Great Wall of China, we have a few recent examples of walls working rather well. Hungary, for example, had a very bad problem with illegal immigration. They built a border barrier in 2015, and—well, take a look for yourself.
Your eyes do not deceive you. In October and September of 2015, 239,000 illegal immigrants crossed the border into Hungary. In November, the same month the border barrier was completed, that number dropped to … 315. Yes, that’s correct; 99.9% of illegal immigration was halted.
Join The American Revenant in the next part of the What If Donald Trump Were President series when we take a look at his impact on the economy in, What If Donald Trump Were President: ‘He Would Ruin The Economy’.