From the March 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): President Trump fighting to get money for his border wall while Democrats bash it as ineffective and expensive. Well, our next guest, writing a new op-ed in the New York Post, says we can't afford not to build the wall, arguing the investment is peanuts compared to what the real cost is of illegal immigration in the United States. Here to break down those costs, Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of the great state of New York. Good morning to you, Betsy.
BETSY MCCAUGHEY (NEW YORK POST): Good morning. That's why politicians are not leveling with us about what we are already being forced to spend to shelter the illegal immigrants coming across the southern border, most of them falsely claiming to be asylum seekers. The numbers are staggering. In fact, so staggering that deterring this crossing, this asylum scam, would more than pay for the wall in less than two years. No other public infrastructure project would get paid back so fast.
DOOCY: In two years. Look at some of the numbers. First of all, we know that the president has requested $8.6 billion to build the wall. That's short of the total cost, but then when you look at the next number, the number of illegal crossings in February was 76,000. And then, and this is a head-scratcher right here, the cost of sheltering each unaccompanied teenager is -- and I didn't realize it was this high -- $775 per day, and I think that is at the Homestead Air Force Base facility down in Florida.
MCCAUGHEY: That's right. And the Department of Health and Human Services is operating 130 of these shelters around the country. Some are less expensive but they're all very expensive. And the fact is that if you add up the cost -- we've got $3 billion a year spent last year housing families and single adults, plus about $2.5 billion housing the unaccompanied teens. So you're up towards $5 billion, right? $5 billion before the surge. As you pointed out, 76,000 migrants in February compared with 463,000 for all of last year. So we could be here seeing a million migrants, double last year's numbers.
DOOCY: But, Betsy, you know it wasn't until Donald Trump became president that anybody ever said a wall doesn't work. Now, you know, many on the right have said they are trying to deny the president a win.
MCCAUGHEY: That's right. The Democrats and many Republicans, 25 in Congress, voted against the emergency declaration. But when you look at what taxpayers are being forced to spend to house these fake asylum seekers, it's staggering. And the president, believe it or not, actually cares about taxpayers. Right on his budget it says, “putting taxpayers first.” And he's doing it by trying to stop this unnecessary expense. And I have to say when I look at his Remain in Mexico program, many people have not heard about this yet, he's going to make Mexico the waiting room for these asylum seekers.
DOOCY: Right, as people wait for their asylum. And some will be granted asylum, but we've heard a majority are not.
MCCAUGHEY: Very small. 7.5 percent of people from Honduras, for example. 11 percent of people from Guatemala. Most of them are not legitimate asylum seekers. But kudos to the president for finding a way to save taxpayers from being literally clobbered with this expense.
DOOCY: OK, Betsy McCaughey, thanks for giving us those numbers.