Do most wire transfers to Mexico come from undocumented immigrants?
Trump claims barring undocumented immigrants from sending wire transfers would entice Mexico to pay for the wall.
"They (Mexico) receive approximately $24 billion a year in remittances from Mexican nationals working in the United States. The majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens," Trump said.
In turn, Trump argues that he would not let the wire transfer ban go into effect if Mexico contributes "the funds needed to the United States to pay for the wall."
We were curious as to whether most Mexican wire transfers, using services such as Western Union, come from undocumented immigrants. So we put Trump's claim through a PolitiFact truth check.
Hard to tell
According to Bank of Mexico, there was $24.77 billion in remittances to Mexico in 2015.
So Trump’s first claim checks out, but the second part is not that simple.
"We don’t know of any estimate by any organization or researcher of what share of remittance senders are unauthorized immigrants – or indeed are immigrants of any legal status," said Michelle Mittelstadt, a spokeswoman at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. "Keep in mind that some number of U.S. born who are of Mexican heritage might also still send remittances."
San Diego State University economics professor Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes worked on a paper on remittances published in the 2005 Economic Review.
She said undocumented immigrants are more likely to remit money than documented immigrants, who are often settled with their family in the United States.
"That said, it is also the case that legal migrants have better paying jobs and, in absolute terms, are able to remit more than the undocumented. So I am not sure his (Trump’s ) statement is correct," Amuedo-Dorantes said.
Manuel Orozco, a remittance expert at Washington D.C. think tank Inter-American Dialogue, said it is "not possible" to say how much of the billions Mexico receives from remittances come from undocumented immigrants.
"Sounds like a guess to me," said Roy Germano, a remittance expert and international relations professor at New York University.
To see the estimated undocumented immigrant population, check out the chart below.
For a full-screen view, click here.
Trump said, "they (Mexico) receive approximately $24 billion a year in remittances from Mexican nationals working in the United States. The majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens."
The number is right, but saying the majority of that money comes from undocumented immigrants is a pure guess.
Experts we spoke with said there is no way to track undocumented remittance senders.
All in all, we rate Trump’s claim Half True.
For the complete fact-check, visit our news partner, PolitiFact Arizona.