President Trump predicts that the entire 2,000 miles of wall he envisions separating our nation from Mexico will cost $10 billion. Senator McConnell estimates the wall will cost between $12 and $15 billion. Homeland Security estimates $21.6 billion.
The President’s budget, which is before Congress now, earmarks $1.6 billion dollars for the construction of 76 miles of his wall in the Rio Grande Valley in California, about 3 percent of the total wall. This $1.6 billion section expands and replaces 14 miles of wall already in place near San Diego. If that cost proves accurate with no overruns, the actual cost of 2,000 miles is likely closer to $50 billion dollars.
We will be paying for this, not Mexico. Mexico insists it will not pay. President Trump now merely asks the president of Mexico to stop stating publicly that Mexico will not pay for the wall until he secures funding from Congress.
Gen. John Kelly, former director of Homeland Security, now Chief of Staff, has stated that a wall will do nothing to prevent tunnels or airplanes or drones. A wall is a splashy visible symbol, but is no more effective at its job than a 5-year-old Norton security update. Current technology, like sensors with infrared, radar, camera arrays on solar-powered towers placed at intervals, are much cheaper and much less environmentally destructive. The patrols monitoring the border prefer the tower strategy.
The 2,000 miles of wall is a waste of our money, but the President, U.S. House and Senate press ahead, preferring the optics of the wall to a more viable result. Shame on them.