As everyone knows up until now, there are two candidates competing on opposing parties just waiting for the elections due in November 2016. On one hand you have a leader who wants to give Mexicans a chance at full U.S citizenship, and on the other, you have a candidate who’s campaigning against it. Not only that, but he wants to have them deported and kept out of the country by building a 3000 km long “wall”.
Here’s where it gets interesting, although we’ve talked about the implications of this considering Mexico has no less than 57 border ports of entry -where billions of dollars in merchandise go through on a daily basis- a “wall” per se would be borderline (pun intended) impossible.
Or as U.S ambassador Roberta Jacobson would say: “unfeasible”. Stating that USA and Mexico share a strong relationship thanks to NAFTA:
“It is part of the electoral process where it’s openly debated, but it’s not the policy on the current administration and we don’t believe it’s neither a feasible thing to do nor positive for our relationship or global perspective that was countersigned in a very good way on the North American Leaders Summit” says the ambassador to Grupo Fórmula. In short: nobody wants to actually compromise commercial ties with Mexico with a presumed wall construction.
So now let’s get to the main point; how much would this “wall” actually cost? There are a lot of points to consider; first of all, finding a way to keep illegal immigrants out is not a novelty. You should know “The Secure Fence Act” called for the construction of a 1,100 km fence back in Bush’s administration in 2006; as of today, that fence is only 50 km short to completion.
Back then, the cost was estimated to be of 2.4 billion dollars for roughly 1/3 on the entire border, and that’s just the easiest and less costly areas to fence according to migration experts. The Government Accountability Office reported back in 2009 the cost to build 1.6 km of fencing would be no less than 2.8 million dollars and 3.9 million at its highest.
And this is just a fence we’re talking about, so what about a border wall? Well, Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute, says the cost for a border wall could be as high as 16 million dollars per 1.6 km, that’s a million dollars for every 100 meters of wall! The total cost for the completion could range between 15 to 25 billion dollars!
Even so, Rosenblum said that’s “probably an underestimate” due to some parts that are considered to be the most difficult to fence like dense, arid terrain. And you know what would push the cost even higher? They would have to pay for private land acquisitions and maintenance.
And that’s without throwing into the mix the maintenance cost for the wall, which could be as high as 750 million dollars a year! And who’s going to pay for that maintenance? The U.S government, of course. That’s not to mention adding personnel, which then again, would raise the overall cost. In addition to the spending data, they would also have to install security cameras throughout, because like Rosenblum puts it “A fence is useless without a camera to tell you when someone has climbed over it.”
Funny enough, you can read the following on Trump’s website:
“The cost of building a permanent border wall pales mightily in comparison to what American taxpayers spend every single year on dealing with the fallout of illegal immigration on their communities, schools and unemployment offices” even though there’s isn’t any actual numbers to put this on perspective.
At the end, this is just an estimate, and most of it is from “fences” which is a reality nowadays, and according to Trump, he wants a “wall”, and if he really means that, difference between the cost of a fence and a wall is a huge gap we should all bear in mind.