On June 15, 2016 Donald Trump announced his bid to become the 45th President of the United States. One of his most memorable talking points was on illegal Mexican immigrants. He alluded that Mexico wasn’t sending its best citizens and said, “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.” This campaign promise is clouded with numerous problems and improbabilities, so I’ll start with the first.
The Southern Border
The border between Mexico and the United States is 1,989 miles long. Donald Trump insists that his proposed wall would be inexpensive. So what’s the price tag on his “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall?” Trump puts the cost at around $8 billion to $12 billion. Here’s where we encounter our first problem and it’s a financial one. The United States spent $7 billion protecting 652.6 miles of the southern border and that was only for fencing. To build a wall to actually keep people out would be an architectural feat of it’s own. Engineer Ali F. Rhuzkan estimates that the 1,954 mile wall would have to be made out of 12.6 million cubic yards of concrete. To give you some perspective that’s over three times the amount used in constructing the Hoover Dam. You could “pave a one-lane road from New York to Los Angeles, going the long way around the Earth.” Not to mention the 5 billion tons of reinforcing steel for the concrete. That’s over 111 times more than what was used in the construction of the Empire State Building. Fact checkers and economists put the wall’s price at least $25 billion.According to Trump Mexico will pay for this wall, though Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto says otherwise. Now on to our next problem that many people don’t even consider.