Donald Trump’s border wall: Has any progress been made?

Donald Trump’s border wall: Has any progress been made?

Donald Trump made a promise to the American people during his campaign that he would build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Four months into his term, how far has he come to living up to this promise?

Has the wall’s construction begun?

Not yet. Trump ordered construction to begin on his fifth day in office using cash Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had on hand. The problem is they only had $20 million available for the project. And this comes nowhere close to the amount needed to construct the wall. Estimates say the wall will range from $1 million to $21.6 million – per mile.

The border between the two countries spans more than 1,900 miles. There’s already 694 miles of fence existing, and a funding bill was passed earlier this month to repair 40 miles of older fencing.

Although Trump has repeatedly said his vision is a wall, and not a fence, border experts seem to agree that a concrete wall is too costly and difficult to build and maintain. The CBP asked for proposals in March, specifying two design options: the solid, concrete wall Trump describes, and an alternate-material, fence-like wall most experts favor.

Funds seem unlikely to materialize any time soon, which means Trump needs to convince Mexico or Congress to cough up the cash. Neither party seems to think funding Trump’s wall is a priority.

Mexico will pay for the wall, right?

Hell no.

Trump promised the funding for this wall will come from Mexico, and at no expense to American taxpayers.

According to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, “Mexico, of course, will not pay.” It’s a sentiment he’s reiterated repeatedly for the past two years, even to Trump in person during a campaign trail visit.

Trump insists he can force Mexico to fork over the money. How can he do this? One possibility is taxing remittances – cash American residents send to relatives in Mexico – which could be quite lucrative. About $28.5 billion is sent to Mexico annually in remittances.

Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers introduced The Border Wall Funding Act of 2017 in March, which would see a 2 percent tax on these remittances to Mexica, Latin America and the Caribbean.

If Mexico isn’t paying, who will?

Contrary to Trump’s initial claims, American taxpayers will pick up the tab for the wall, unless Mexico changes its mind. It won’t. He changed his tune saying that Americans will initially cover the expense, to be paid back at a later date by Mexico. Unless the remittance tax is in place, it seems like American’s will be paying long term.

How much will the border wall cost?

That’s the billion-dollar question. Until the CBP chooses a design, it’s hard to give a real figure. However, the Department of Homeland Security reportedly says a wall could cost $21.6 billion, plus maintenance.

Last month, Senate Democrats released a report with an estimate of $70 billion to build the wall and a whopping $150 million on annual repairs.

The existing fence, build 10 years ago, cost between $1 million and almost $4 million per mile, according to Federal records.

In his 2018 budget proposal, President Trump asked for $21.6 million per mile of a proposed 74 miles of wall.

What will Trump’s border wall look like?

Sure, he promised “a big, beautiful wall,” but don’t expect it. Chances are it will look like the fencing already built. Though many designers have shown renderings of what they think it could look like, until the CBP chooses a proposal, no one will know.

The CBP requires the wall to be at least 18 feet high to prevent climbing and tunneling. It must also be able to withstand significant physical force and it should be visually appealing on the American side.

The Wall Street Journal acquired a number of sketches, including one design made of a double-wire mesh fence that would allow Americans to see to the other side, but prevent Mexicans from doing so.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters that 20-foot cyclone fencing could be the end result.

“This is the wall that DHS said they wanted, [when they] sat in the Oval Office with the president,” Mulvaney said. “We talked about bricks and mortar, we talked about concrete, and this is what they wanted.”

He added that the Department of Homeland Security believes a see-through fence is safer for border agents. “It’s also half of the cost, so we can build twice as much of it.”

Also read: Donald Trump blows up Twitter with “covfefe” then makes a joke about it

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