IWV came across a video of Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, making an argument in favor of “The Wall” or increased physical barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Kirk cites many facts; we decided to offer a fact check of selected points below the video. 



Read each statement along with IWV’s fact check below:


“An illegal alien in AZ is twice as likely to commit a crime versus a natural born citizen.”


A study by economist John Lott examined Arizona corrections data and found that illegal immigrants are are at least 146 percent more likely to be convicted of a crime than other residents. So yes, this is true.


“90% of all heroin and fentanyl comes across the southern border.”


Sadly, this is true. Ninety percent of all heroin and fentanyl is trafficked through the southern border.


“Over 10,000 kids are illegally sex trafficked across the southern border every year.”


In 2018, former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kristjen Nielsen said that of the 12,000 unaccompanied children brought across the border, 10,000 arrived with someone other than their biological parents.


“We have 56,000 illegal immigrants in our federal prison system.”


According to the latest Alien Incarceration Report (released April 2019) by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), as of March 31, 2018, 38,391 known or suspected illegal immigrants were in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), approximately 21 percent of the 183,291 total BOP population.


And a 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office found that there were 39,500 illegal immigrants incarcerated in federal prisons in fiscal year 2016, which is about  21 percent of the total federal inmate population for that year. Kirk may have more recent data; his figure is not unreasonable. 


From FY2011 to FY2016, there were more than 730,000 illegal immigrants in U.S. or state prisons and local jails.


“$135 billion is the financial burden on taxpayers every year that illegal immigrants drain from our system.”


While it is difficult to measure the financial cost of illegal immigration to taxpayers, we know that some states offer illegal immigrants access to state-funded public welfare benefits that should only be reserved for U.S. citizens and legal residents. Illegal immigrants also receive tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer-subsidized health care each year as well as some federal benefits through their U.S.-born children. Furthermore, immigration enforcement costs as well as the incarceration rates detailed above certainly contribute to the burden on taxpayers.


For more information about the U.S.-Mexico border, read IWF’s policy focus here.