As is well-known, Republican President Donald J. Trump promised repeatedly on the campaign trail throughout 2015-2016 that he would build a border wall between the United States and the Federal Republic of Mexico and that Mexico would pay for it. One instance of this claim occurred on February 25, 2016 when then candidate Trump, during the course of a Republican candidates forum moderated by Wolf Blitzer, was asked about his wall construction proposal. Blitzer’s question was framed around a public comment made by former Mexican President, Vincente Fox. Fox, when asked about Trump’s assertion that Mexico would pay for a proposed wall noted, “I’m not going to pay for that Fucking wall.”
Candidate Trump’s response centered on the former Mexican President’s use of profanity and he went on to note that the wall “just got ten feet higher”, punctuating his retort with a characteristic, “believe me”. Trump’s repeated promises that he would build a wall and that Mexico would pay for it became perhaps the most characteristic mantra of his campaign, hollered to wildly cheering crowds from coast to coast over the course of months.
Following his election win, President Trump continued in the repetition of his promise despite wide criticism from leading members of both major parties. Criticisms derived of a variety of concerns, including;
- Expenditures involved in construction: Virtually every analyst with some level of expertise germane to the proposal cast aspersions on the likelihood that Mexico would pay for the project, noting that U.S taxpayers would end up footing the bill.
- The efficacy of a border wall as an impediment to the inflow of those seeking to enter the United States illegally.
- Impairments to our relationship with our third largest trading partner and commensurate impacts that would be felt in the realm of commerce.
- Costs for manning and maintaining a wall that is 1,954 miles long over time.
Nevertheless, on April 25, 2017 President Donald J. Trump doubled down on his promise to build the wall, though he avoided questions as to how he would fund its construction, remarking, “The wall is going to get built and we’re setting record numbers in terms of stopping people from coming in and stopping drugs from coming in.” Trump went on to task the Department of Homeland with developing his unfunded proposal.
Projected Costs and the Unveiling of Prototypes
This week, near the bustling San Diego Otsay Mesa border crossing point, eight vertical concrete slabs projected upward, some exceeding thirty feet in height. The projections represent prototypes for President Trump’s vaunted border wall. Six contractors, selected from across the United States, were engaged to construct these prototypes. The first tangible signs of Trump’s proposed wall will take one to two months to test. The cost for these samples was estimated at between 2.4 and 4 million dollars. Who paid for these wall test segments? Not the Federal Republic and not Donald J. Trump, the U.S. taxpayer foots the bill and this is just the start.
According to a variety of experts, the projected cost for President Trump’s wall will exceed 22 billion dollars. A panel in the U.S. House of Representatives recently approved a Bill that would provide an opening 10 billion dollars for construction of the wall. As many have remarked and as long experience dictates, it is highly probable that any Federal project estimate will always fall short. A projected 22 billion dollar price tag will surely double over time. And who will pay for this wall? The American taxpayer, of course. Trump’s repeated assertions that Mexico will ultimately pay for his “big, beautiful wall” are bait for the base, nothing more. No one with any expertise on Mexico and Mexican affairs believes that the Federal Republic will foot the bill for Trump’s wall. It is, simply put, unmitigated balderdash.
More on the Recent House Bill Proposal on Construction of a Border Wall
Republican Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul (R-Texas), approved the Border Security for America Act, which passed out of committee on a strictly partisan vote of 18-12.
In addition to the $10 billion dollar border wall funding appropriation, the bill also allocates $5 billion for improvements in security for ports of entry, adds over 5,000 Customs and Border Protection agents to the rolls and additionally authorizes state reimbursements to the tune of $35 million for the deployment of National Guard assets used to support border security efforts. The legislation also adds a plethora of additional appropriations for everything from enhanced radar interdiction efforts to air support assets involved in interdiction.
In short, a colossal barrel of pork-related projects that Mexico won’t expend on a dime on and for which you, the American tax-payer, will ultimately get the bill.
There’s seemingly no room left for rational debate around this issue in the United States: Rational discussion and consideration, as well as, pragmatic deliberation and action are passe in the face of a mindlessly cheering base who simply will not be perturbed by, you know, facts.
Trump will “build that wall” and Mexico will never pay for it, that is an absolute certainty. In the end, the American people will pay the cost for a project which many continue to aver will not prove an effective barrier to the inflow of drugs or the undocumented. We live in a nation wherein rhetoric dictates course of action and factual bases are the stuff of ridicule.