Nearly 700 Miles of Fencing at the US-Mexico Border Already Exist
Trump has said he wants a concrete barrier as high as 55 feet tall and has described his proposed wall as "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful."
Under the Secure Fence Act, the pedestrian border fencing completed in fiscal year 2007 was estimated to cost about $2.8 million per mile, according to a 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office. It was constructed using mostly the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard, according to the Congressional Research Service. The 2009 report also found that fencing constructed in fiscal year 2008, which mostly used private contractors, cost about $3.9 million per mile.
“Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders, gets back its borders,” Trump said Wednesday at the Department of Homeland Security after signing two executive orders related to immigration. The executive order calls for the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border to achieve "operational control," which it defines as "the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.”
Building a new 1,000-mile wall could cost as much as $40 billion, according to an analysis published in the MIT Technology Review. Maintenance of barriers along the southern border will also be costly. The Congressional Research Service estimated in 2009 that double layer fencing would cost an estimated $16.4 million to $70 million per mile over 25 years, depending on the amount of damage sustained.
During Wednesday's press conference, Trump did not specify how he plans to pay for the wall, but in the executive order he asks to allocate available sources of federal funding to the "planing, designing, and constructing of a physical wall" as well as to project long-term funding requirements from the Congressional Budget Office. He also calls for each executive department and agency to identify and report all foreign aid to Mexico.
Earlier this month, Trump said that Mexico will reimburse the U.S for the cost of building the wall. Mexican officials have repeatedly said they will not pay for the wall.