Why the Trump Wall Won’t Work


“We will build a wall.” Trump’s supporters are ardent on this point. How will Donald Trump build this wall? He’s built plenty of walls.  He has a great many friends in wall building industries. We will make the Mexicans pay for this wall, because the Mexicans have a trade debt to us and owe us for putting up with them so long. This is what Trump says. But can it really get done so easily?

First off is cost. Trump said a few months ago that it would cost about 4 billion dollars. This estimate has been bumped up to $12 billion. That’s a lot of money. But independent sources cite a number closer to $25 billion dollars, not including the cost of maintenance, which could equal that number within ten years. The number that Trump gave was gross misrepresentation of the actual cost of such a momentous project.

To solve this problem, Trump plans to make Mexico pay for his wall. He claims that Mexico owes us something on the order of $75 billion in trade debt. Unfortunately, this money is just the difference in imports and exports between the two countries, and so isn’t really useful as leverage to raise the funds for the wall. The current Mexican Secretary of the Treasury says that, “Mexico, under no circumstance, is going to pay for the wall that Mr. Trump is proposing.” If Trump wants to build the wall, he either has to figure out how to make Americans pay for it or pay for it himself.

What will the border wall do? If it works right, it will stop Mexicans from illegally immigrating into the US. But if there’s a 35 foot wall preventing you from getting to freedom, you take a 36 foot ladder, or you find a place where there’s no wall. Maybe half of all illegal immigrants get through a legal entry and then just overstay their visas. So the wall really doesn’t really prevent anyone from getting over the border and costs a lot of money.

The Trump Wall isn’t really very useful and serves as a symbol of hatred and racism towards Mexico. Trump says what he thinks of Mexicans: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.” Pope Francis sums up the impact of those words best: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”