US-Mexico Border Wall

US President Donald Trump made the campaign promise during the campaign that he would build a wall located at the US-Mexico border. He signed an executive order earlier this year that announced several steps that would be taken in order to prevent illegal immigration from Central American countries.

However, the US-Mexico border that’s almost 2,000 miles already includes about 700 miles of border fencing. Much of the fencing was installed during Obama’s presidency that was itself was a portion of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 that President Bush signed about a decade ago.

It’s important to note that the fencing that exists from California to Texas includes different types based on the terrain as well as the various populations of the regions it borders. That’s based on images that the US Customers and Border Protection released during 2011. The kinds of fencing include:

  • Chain link
  • Post and rail
  • Concrete barriers
  • X-shaped steel beams
  • Sheet piling
  • Wire mesh

Trump has stated that he wants to construct a concrete barrier that’s up to 55 feet tall. He’s described the wall with words like “tall,” “impenetrable” and “beautiful.” The pedestrian border was finished during the fiscal year 2007. And had an estimated cost of around $2.8 million/mile based on a 2009 report. The fence was mostly built by the National Guard and US Army Corps of Engineers.

Trump stated at the Dept. of Homeland Security in January that the US was getting control of the country’s borders back. This was after signing two immigration-related executive orders. The executive order supported the building of a physical wall on the US’ southern border in order for the country to acquire “operational control.” It’s defined by illegal immigration into the US.

The cost of a new wall that’s 1,000 miles long could have a price tag of up to $40 based on an analysis that was published by MIT. There’s also the maintenance of the barriers on the southern border that would also be expensive. Over the period of 25 years, double =-layer fencing would cost up to $70 million per mile based on how much damage occurs.

Trump has not stated any specific plans about how the border wall would be paid for. However, the executive order includes a request to set aside federal funding sources for designing and constructing the wall. It would also involve long-term funding from the US Congressional Budget Office. Trump also calls for all executive departments/agencies to identify/report any foreign aid sent to Mexico. Trump has also stated that Mexico will repay the US for the costs of constructing the wall. However, Mexican officials have said several times that they won’t pay for the border wall.

The cost of maintaining a border fence on the US-Mexico border has increased significantly over the years. Enforcement has sky-rocketed by nearly 600% between 1993 and 2007. That cost also doesn’t include the cost of building the actual barriers that can range from $2-3 million per mile based on various issues like materials, topography, and land prices. It’s clear that those prices will continue to increase as new innovations are developed.