Wall Street Journal
By Reid Epstein
January 11, 2016
A super PAC backing Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is rolling out a report Monday that puts a sky-high price tag on rival Donald Trump‘s anti-immigration proposals and projects a heavy blow to U.S. economic growth if they were implemented.
Mr. Trump’s proposals, which include building a border wall and deporting the estimated 11 million people currently in the country illegally, would cost as much as $935 billion over two decades, according to the report being released by New Day for America PAC.
The 14-page document, written for the super PAC by former George W. Bush administration official Mark McIntosh and Steven Bogden, a former aide to John McCain’s presidential campaign, surmises that were Mr. Trump elected and his policies implemented, the U.S. gross domestic product would take a hit of at least 5.7% in coming decades — leaving the economy $1.6 trillion smaller than it would otherwise have been.
Mr. Trump’s campaign didn’t respond to inquiries about the super PAC report or the cost of his immigration proposals.
After instigating a feud with the New York businessman when Mr. Kasich called Mr. Trump’s proposals “crazy” during an October debate, Mr. Kasich has largely left Mr. Trump alone in recent weeks as the Ohio governor focused his campaign on moderate voters in New Hampshire, where Mr. Trump remains the polling leader. During a Washington Post interview last week, Mr. Kasich said Trump supporters who feel disenfranchised should be backing his campaign.
“They’re my peeps,” Mr. Kasich told the Post. “People who think, ‘I get screwed, I get nothing.’ That’s where I grew up. . . . That’s my DNA.”
The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s immigration plan – constructing a wall the length of the U.S.-Mexico border – would cost between $15 billion and $25 billion, with an annual maintenance cost of $700 million, according to an estimate the PAC received from Marc Rosenblum, the deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.
Mr. Trump regularly boasts that he would force Mexico to subsidize the cost of the border wall. The immigration white paper his campaign released in August calls for seizing remittances from undocumented Mexican immigrants and increasing fees on visas issued to Mexican nationals, at Mexican ports of entry and at border crossing stations.
But Mr. Trump’s immigration proposal doesn’t explain how he would pay to deport the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
The PAC cites a March 2015 report from Douglas Holtz-Eakin’s American Action Forum that argued the federal government would have to spend $619 billion to find, hold, process and deport 11 million illegal immigrants. It would cost an additional $315 billion to maintain a zero-illegal immigrant status over 20 years, Mr. Holtz-Eakin’s report found.
The $935 billion overall estimate would place the cost of Mr. Trump’s immigration enforcement at well above the $787 billion Congress authorized for President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package. The estimate is far higher than previous attempts to quantify the cost of the Trump proposals – Politico in August calculated the tab at $166 billion.
The report’s authors wrote that they were unable to quantify a cost for one piece of Mr. Trump’s plan: rescinding birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants born in the U.S. The PAC argues it would require a constitutional amendment – something Mr. Trump disputes – to overturn the 1898 Supreme Court decision that certified all U.S.-born people are American citizens. They see the chances of that as nonexistent.
“Given the current makeup of Congress and the state legislatures there is no chance of amending the Citizenship Clause,” wrote Mr. McIntosh and Mr. Bogden, who both worked for Jon Huntsman’s 2012 presidential campaign and in 2013 launched a Huntsman PAC. “It is not possible to score the cost of such campaign.”
In addition to his work for Kasich super PAC, Mr. McIntosh has also co-hosted a fundraiser for Right to Rise, the super PAC backing former Florida Gov. Jeb. Bush.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com