Conservative group puts price tag on Trump's mass deportation plan, contractor quotes for his wall

The election of Donald Trump as president of the US looks more likely by the day.

The election of Donald Trump as president of the US looks more likely by the day.

Two new polls, from Fox News and Rasmussen, give the TPP-basher a narrow lead over Hillary Clinton (although most still have the Democrat ahead).

That brings a couple of his pet projects into focus, along with recent attempts to put a price tag on them.

It’s a bit of a dark art, given Mr Trump doesn’t do detail.

But for his plan to deport around 11 million immigrants living illegally in the US, he has drawn an analogy to President Ike Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback” in the 1950s – which saw military-style tactics used to round up and deport around 170,000 Mexicans.

Assuming a similar tactic is adopted for Trump’s effort, and that it extends over a 20-year time frame, a conservative research group called The American Action Forum says the policy would cost around $US400 billion.

As NBR has previously canvassed, Mr Trump will need to get any policy funded by Congress (and constitutionally ratified by the Supreme Court, where Justice Scalia’s death has given Obama the opportunity to cement a 5-4 liberal majority before he leaves office). With debt already pressing, and possible hostility over Mr Trump’s plans for trade wars and raise taxes, asking the Senate and House to approve funding legislation for a $US400 billion initiative will be a non-starter.

There is also Mr Trump’s plan for a wall along the US-Mexico border. The presumptive Republican candidate has put the price at $US10 billion (and you also have to assume people smugglers will suddenly lose their facility for digging tunnels, but never mind). The New York Times quotes the chief executive of Texas-based wall-builder Superior Concrete, who says it would cost $US26 billion. And then you have to factor in that every public infrastructure project in history has gone over-budget, usually by at least a factor of 2.

Mr Trump, of course, shouts that Mexico will pay for it. But as things stand, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to get $US10 billion for any initiative from his own Congress, let alone the government across the border.

Still – details. Mr Trump doesn’t do them, and probably doesn’t need them to get elected.

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