During an April 23 interview, Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke out about the funding for the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“We’re going to get paid for it one way or the other,” said Sessions during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I know there’s $4 billion a year in excess payments, according to the Department of the Treasury’s own inspector general several years ago, that are going to payments to people — tax credits that they shouldn’t get. Now, these are mostly Mexicans. And those kind of things add up — $4 billion a year for 10 years is $40 billion.”
According to Politico, the data offered by Sessions was from a July 2011 report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, citing $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits paid out to U.S. residents who were ineligible for work.
A current estimate puts the cost of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at $21 billion, according to the Washington Examiner.
Sessions emphasized that the wall would be a smart investment, arguing that it would lead to a cascade of positive effects for the criminal justice system in the U.S.
“I do believe this wall, this barrier is going to be essential in ending the illegality,” continued Sessions.
“It will save us billions of dollars because the numbers of people that are coming will be reduced dramatically; the amount of drugs entering our country will be reduced; the amount of people we are housing in detention centers will be declining.”
Sessions also maintained that the wall would solve many problems associated with illegal immigration.
“We are gonna get people out of the country to these countries that aren’t taking them back after they’re due to be deported. It’s going to save us hundreds of millions — billions of dollars,” said Sessions.
Questioned on whether Mexico would actually pay for the wall, as Trump often promised on the campaign trail, Sessions said: “I don’t expect the Mexican government to appropriate money for it, but there are ways that we can deal with our trade situation that we can create revenue to pay for it.”
During a CNN interview, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly elaborated on President Trump’s stance on the issue.
“I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall so I would suspect that he’ll do the right thing for sure, but I would suspect that he’ll be insistent for funding,” said Kelly during the interview.
Kelly reportedly told CNN that the president was willing to shut down the federal government to get funding for the border wall. Congress is reportedly looking to finalize a funding plan by April 28 to keep the government afloat in the event of a shutdown.
Sources: Politico, Washington Examiner (2) / Photo Credit: Brooke Binkowski/Flickr