Former trade advisor to President Trump, Dr. Peter Navarro, believes that an America First policy on immigration will best protect the interests of the American people. He wrote the 53-page report, including footnotes and references, during his time with the administration, but Covid took precedence over the release of the report in 2020. The report refers specifically to illegal immigrants who cross the Southwest United States’ border. Figure one of the report shows the traffic from the Northern Triangle countries—“traffic which accounts for over 90% of illegal immigrant traffic across the southern border.”
Named “The Causes and Costs of Illegal Immigration: A Report by Dr. Peter Navaro,” the report states that an America First policy on immigration should focus on three main areas: “protecting working-class citizens, communicating the true costs of illegal migration, and embracing the political benefits and popularity of border sovereignty.” He presents a thorough, data-centric investigation of the “statistical case for asserting American sovereignty and protecting the prerogatives of American citizens, especially working-class Americans who are disproportionately harmed by the folly of permissive migration policies.”
With a forward written by Senior Trump Advisor Steve Cortes, his report looks at the successes of the Trump administration’s immigration policy. President Trump’s successes with regulatory restraint, toughness on trade, tight border controls, and tax relief for corporations and individuals were economic boons for America’s workers of all ethnicities. The gains for blue-collar workers and minorities were substantial.
In actual dollar terms, the median household saw incomes climb $4,379 in 2019. To put that number in context, that year alone represented over $1,300 more in income gains, by itself, than the entire eight years of the Obama-Biden administration. These wage increases sent the U.S. poverty rate to a 60 year low. During the first three years of the Trump presidency, 2.8 million American children were lifted out of poverty.
According to Navarro, poorly regulated immigration policy can adversely affect the American Worker. He discusses the true costs of illegal immigration and the politics of immigration. To that end, he poses a series of questions and then answers them exhaustively in his report:
- Which countries are illegal aliens coming from and what are their demographic profiles?
- What forces incentivize these illegal aliens to migrate north in such large numbers and why is it so easy for illegal aliens to take up residence in the United States?
- What will be the likely fallout of illegal mass migration: facilitated by the Biden-Harris Regime on for American taxpayers, labor markets, American children in our K-12 public schools, and crime?
- How did the Trump Administration combat the dangers of mass illegal migration, mitigate the [financial] burden of illegal immigration, and what were the effects of these policies?
The table below shows the number of illegal aliens who have crossed the Southern border since 2015. The numbers were taken from the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection records. Notice the almost 50 percent decrease in numbers between FY19 and FY20. Under “Catch and Release,” many of those coming across will be released into the interior of the country. The “inadmissables” are those who come to a U.S. border seeking asylum or protection. The report states that many of those will also be released into the interior U.S. The fourth column is an approximate number, but “the prediction has rested well above 100,000 per annum for the past five years.”
A deeper dive into those numbers looks at the criminal activity “beyond immigration violations,” shown in Table Two. In FY20, ICE conducted over 103,600 administrative arrests.
“Of these 103,600 administrative arrests, 90 percent of those arrested had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, along with egregious criminal histories including more than 1,800 homicide-related offenses, 1,600 kidnappings, 3,800 robberies, 37,000 assaults, and 10,000 sex crimes…and among aliens removed in FY2018, 44% had criminal backgrounds. Of these 103,600 administrative arrests, 90 percent of those arrested had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, along with egregious criminal histories including more than 1,800 homicide-related offenses, 1,600 kidnappings, 3,800 robberies, 37,000 assaults, and 10,000 sex crimes.”
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras comprise what is known as the Northern Triangle. The chart below shows the surge of illegal immigrants in FY2018 and FY2019, where the traffic of “illegal aliens tripled…a 172% increase.”
The report breaks down the demographics of illegal immigration from the Northern Triangle in three ways;
Education Levels, English Language Proficiency, and Occupations
Top Occupations and Income Levels for Illegal Aliens in the U.S.
Almost 60% of the citizens of Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries have less than a high school education compared to just 10% of U.S. citizens. Navarro notes that the “vast majority” of immigrants coming across the southern border are uneducated and lack proficiency in English. These indicators are among the most important when examining the economic impacts of illegal immigration.
Notably, “while illegal aliens constitute only about 3.2% of the U.S. population, they account for an estimated 21% of landscaping service workers, 19% of janitorial and other building service workers, and 22% of crop production jobs.”
Navarro’s report examines four forces that drive illegal immigrants to the U.S. They are listed below:
- Better Jobs and Higher Wages
- Access to the American Educational, Medical, Welfare, and Other Social
- The High Cost of Drug Trafficking and Human Trafficking
- Asylum Seekers – Legitimate and False
One of the highlights of those forces is comparing what Northern Triangle countries spend per capita on social assistance compared with the U.S. The massive disparity is a key driver of traffic to the U.S. Spending that is intended for U.S. citizens is often diverted to illegal aliens:
The latter part of the report examines court decisions as well as statutory and policy changes through the years that have affected the flow of illegals through our southern border. Those include but are not limited to:
- Major Judicial and Legislative Acts that Have Facilitated Illegal Alien Access to
U.S. Taxpayer-Funded Services and Programs
- Birthright Citizenship Under the 14th Amendment – or the “Anchor Baby” phenomenon
- The Rise of Sanctuary Cities—arising from two legal changes in 1979 and 1989
- The Catch and Release Program
- The Rise of Chain Migration
Below is a map of the Sanctuary cities and counties from the report:
Below is a table from his report showing family-based chain migration since 1960:
Finally, Navarro discusses the many ways the Trump administration guarded the safety and security of Americans. “Through a series of executive actions, agency-level changes, and even international cooperation, the massive inflow of illegal aliens had been substantially curtailed as President Trump introduced novel and innovative improvements to protect American citizens.” These actions and policies are discussed in great detail at the end of the report and show how he prioritized immigration reform with an eye for American security during his presidency. Five of the 31 pages of Navarro’s text are dedicated to President Trump’s immigration reforms.
Appendix A studies the costs of illegal aliens to the U.S. taxpayer. Navarro remarks that there is often a lag in the data or a complete lack of data, impeding the ability to accurately estimate the costs associated with illegal immigration. However, he is confident that it “costs the American people billions of dollars annually.”
Navarro concludes, “while the Democrat Party ostensibly represents the working poor and blue-collar laborers of America, this political party now advocates unrelentingly for open borders that will afflict maximum damage to these constituencies.” It is often the working poor who lose their jobs when illegal immigration increases. If the Democrat party continues to push for open borders and “dismantles the Secure Order policies” Trump initiated, Navarro warns that “the very worst is yet to come [and] we must brace for the fallout.”