This is some of the craziest shit I've seen in recent memory.
A speaker told a coalition of tea party groups in South Carolina on Monday that the U.S. could save $260 billion on the border fence if they “force these Mexicans to make $5 a day” to build it. [...]
“I proposed a two dual-fence system, multi-tiered wall with a no man’s land — I put a minefield in there, but they said no — intrusion detection systems like we use in detecting tunnels with nitrous and oxygen emission control emitters to detect carbon dioxide upon exhalation of someone digging a tunnel,” he explained. “Then you pump gas in there, — tear gas, nothing lethal. Just make it come out the other side.”
“But what you do, you take all these incarcerated illegal aliens — even give some of the guys who are U.S. citizens in the U.S. prison system, who make about 27 cents a day doing ridiculous work — kick out the union labor charging $28 an hour, force these Mexicans and these other people to make $5 a day, making more money than they made in Mexico anyway,” Heaton continued. “Put them to work building a security fence under military and local-state law enforcement administration. … Projected budget: $140 billion, which will pay for itself in four years once you get them the hell out of here.”
Oh! $5 per day is more than they were making in Mexico anyway, so we'll actually be doing them a favor!
I've seen this logic before. It's usually contained within columns or wingnut talk-radio rants about how slavery wasn't so bad because it provided food and shelter to the slaves.
And how exactly is a border fence going to pay for itself? The state of Alabama, where the nations toughest anti-immigration laws have been implemented, is projected to lose up to $130 million per year in tax revenue because --shock, horror-- the overwhelming majority of immigrants pay taxes too! I suppose a border fence will pay for itself in the same way the Iraq war did.
By the way, prisoners actually make about 75 cents per hour, not 27 cents per day, and I would hardly describe what they do as "ridiculous work." For many it's the difference between remaining sane or not.