A new study that appeared in the American Economic Association’s July 20 edition documented the effects the Secure Fence Act of 2006 had on deterring migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
While the fence the Act produced comes short of President Trump’s criteria for a “big beautiful wall,” the study still found that it had a sizable impact on deterring illegal immigration. The Act authorized construction of 700 miles of fencing along the border, most of which was completed by 2009, but not finished completely until 2015.
According to a summary of the study from Breitbart’s Neil Murno:
“Construction in a municipality reduces migration by 27 percent for municipality residents and 15 percent for residents of adjacent municipalities,” said the article. “In addition, construction reduces migration by up to 35 percent from non-border municipalities,” says the author, Benjamin Feigenberg, at the University of Chicago.
Feignberg adds: Given working-aged populations of 5.0 million in Mexican border regions and 59.8 million in non-border regions, baseline migration rates of 0.42 percent and 0.41 percent per quarter, and estimated migration declines of 27 percent and 35 percent, roughly 5,670 border municipality migrants and 85,810 non-border migrants would be deterred each quarter if the entire border was fenced. […] This cost estimate in turn implies a total cost of approximately $1,870 per deterred migrant.
For reference, the annual cost of an illegal immigrant comes out to roughly $6,940 per year to taxpayers net of any state and local taxes illegal end up paying.
While the study did find that the fence did lead some migrants towards entering the U.S. by other means (such as the still-exposed parts of the border), it still led to a net decline in illegal immigration into the U.S.
In the pre-Trump era Democrats took a more sane approach to the issue of illegal immigration. Voting in favor of the Act included Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton. In total 64 Democrats in the House and 26 in the Senate voted for the Act.
Now these same people try to pretend that walls don’t work.