A major part of Trump’s strategy this campaign season has been in promoting radical immigration policies. Everyone knows Trump as the candidate who vows to build a wall and to make Mexico pay for it.
The Donald recently has expanded his immigration policy to be employed in the fight against ISIS and terrorism, advocating stronger immigration checks for those entering the country – even proposing full bans on Muslim immigrants at times.
While one major difficulty in understanding Trump’s immigration policy is that he is always changing his stance on the issues, what makes even less sense is how he plans to pay for all of his immigration reforms.
Yes, Trump does indeed have an entire section on his website dedicated to how he’ll pay for the wall. His plan basically consists of suspending any flow of cash to Mexico, which he claims amounts to $24 billion a year, in exchange for a one-time payment of $10 billion dollars to fund the construction of the wall.
For starters, this seems like some wacky cartoon heist. I am going to assume that you cannot just hold another country up for $10 billion dollars. Even if Trump’s deal went through, it would set an extremely dangerous precedent for America’s interest and trade abroad. Do we really want China or any other holder of our debt to be pulling these same tactics against us in a few years?
Then there is the cost of Trump’s new proposal that immigrants be subject to an ideological screening test. He stated that his “extreme vetting” would consist of vetting out “any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.”
The upside to this plan is that it, to a certain extent, makes some sense. There are organizations of people out there who would love nothing more than to attack America at home, and if there was an effective way for preventing this with a screening process then I would feel pretty good about it.
The issue comes in implementing the screening process itself. First off, there certainly is a huge issue in assuming that America has one homogeneous ideology which we can screen immigrants against. While the values of personal freedom and liberty were the founding values of our country, everyone interprets these differently. What standard would he use to create his ideological screening? This not even to mention the issues of religious freedom that the ideological screening brings up.
Even if permissible, the cost of creating such a screening process and then implementing it would be incredibly high. Republicans are typically the ones worried about government spending, and this plan would certainly work against those values.
Essentially, most of Trump’s immigration plans are a bit far-fetched and would be incredibly costly to institute. Any supposed economic gains that he could make at home would easily be wiped out by the expenses that his policies would institute. While some might like the idea of a safer country and a little less competition in the job market, this “nice idea” would come with a huge price tag and would not have a ton of quantifiable return for the money we spend.