How Trump Will Build Mexican Wall?

Immediately after becoming the US president, Donald Trump announced that his government would construct the ‘Mexico wall’ in order to cut the number of illegal immigrants.
Undoubtedly, it is a sensitive project and also a costly one. The US-Mexico border is about 3,100km long and crosses all sorts of terrain from empty, dusty desert to the lush and rugged surroundings of the Rio Grande. About 1,046km of the border is already covered by a confused and non-continuous series of fences, concrete slabs and other structures. Trump said that his wall would cover 1,610km and natural obstacles would take care of the rest. “I will build a great wall and nobody builds wall greater than me. Believe me and I build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” added the president.
But, if Trump has to keep his word, the project will have to start by the US dishing out the money first to start work – contrary to the president’s promise that Mexico will pay for the wall. Experts say that it could cost USD 4 million per km to build a single-layer fence, with an additional USD 2.6 million per km for roads and more fencing. Interestingly, their estimates do not include maintenance of the fence along the 3,100km US-Mexico border. A recent study conducted by the Washington Post has predicted the cost of Trump’s wall would be close to USD 25 billion.
But, the Republicans have other game plan. They plan to ask the US Congress to ensure money is available for the wall without passing any new legislation. Republicans are relying on an existing US law that authorises fencing and other technology along the southern border. By putting wall funding in an appropriation, or spending bill, House Republicans hope to force Democrats to choose between voting for the wall and the shutting down the government. Trump believes that renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the Mexican government will make it cough up the money. The president never said how he would make Mexico foot the bill, but suggested that he could go for higher visa and border-crossing fees, or target the billions in remittances sent home by immigrants living in the US.
Meanwhile, the US’ southern neighbour is in really rough shape right now. Mexico is facing nationwide protests because of the rising gas prices and the peso is falling, not least due to speculation about what is going to happen under Trump’s presidency in Washington. The former Spanish colony knows that a security surge along the US-Mexico border will use a military-style approach with more Border Patrol agents, barriers and sensors. The Mexican government understands that it needs good relations with the US. The demographic, environmental, symbolic implications of the wall are huge and that is why Mexico is so worried about it.


1 Comment

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