Illegal immigration costs the U.S. more than $300 billion a year, President Trump told his Twitter followers on Friday, promising to slash costs despite opposition from Congressional Democrats who oppose his plans to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
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"There is no reason for this," Trump said in his tweet, sent out the morning after a debate in Houston focused attention on the Democrats vying for a chance to unseat him in next year's presidential election.
A real-estate mogul without political experience before his presidential campaign, Trump promised voters in 2016 to curb illegal immigration into the U.S., in part by building a "big beautiful wall" on the southern U.S. border. When Congress stymied him on funding for the project, Trump declared a national emergency that enabled him to redirect money from other Defense Department programs.
In a related move, the White House recently enacted a mandate requiring foreigners seeking to live in the United States to disclose their use of public benefits in an effort to make sure non-citizens are financially independent and less reliant on the U.S. government.
“Self-sufficiency has long been a basic principle of our Nation’s immigration laws that has enjoyed widespread support.”
The new rule would save taxpayers about $2.27 billion per year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.