Fact Check: Is Donald Trump’s Mexico Border Wall Impossible To Build?
One might expect a fence company to declare support for Donald Trump, for obvious reasons, but so far Big Fence has stayed out of that particular political minefield, for obvious reasons. Still, the subject of a “great, big, beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border is never far from the headlines. So what would it take for the U.S. to build Trump’s big beautiful wall along the Mexican border?
Is It Possible for the U.S. To Build a Mexico Border Wall?
Hypothetically speaking, just how big of an undertaking would it be to build the Great Wall of Trump on the Mexico border? Many experts say it is simply not plausible — or even possible. If we look to history there are some precedents. First, is the famed Maginot Line, the barrier of fortifications built by France along its German border during World War II. Unfortunately, the Germans went around the line and swept through the Ardennes forest, conquering France soon after. Then there’s the Great Wall of China, the 5,500 mile wall built two centuries before the birth of Christ. The wall’s builders hoped it would keep out invading Mongolians. That, too, failed miserably.
What Would It Take To Build the Border Wall?
The U.S. Mexico border stretches for 1,933 miles and runs through the largest desert in North America. And according to Vice News, the federal government has already tried massive border security projects, with mixed results:
“In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security conceived the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet), a radical plan to line the southern border with camera and and sensor equipped watch towers.
The program was a resounding disappointment, costing almost $1 billion to cover just 53 miles. A Government Accountability Office report found the DHS completely unequipped and unprepared to plan and execute such a massive project. The report found that DHS officials had ‘not effectively managed and overseen its SBInet prime contractor, thus resulting in costly rework and contributing to SBInet’s well-chronicled history of not delivering promised capabilities and benefits on time and within budget.'”
But are there enough industrial fencing contractors to build the Mexico wall and offer ongoing fence maintenance? Are there enough border security agents to guard it? The U.S. already has almost 21,000 border agents, but they’re also tasked with guarding the Canadian border, the single longest border in the world.
However, there probably are enough fencing contractors, if you hired workers from every fence company in America. There are 99,939 U.S. companies that provide fencing services, products, and maintenance; in total, these companies employ 270,455 people. Even without the Trump wall, demand for fencing is expected to grow by 7% a year through 2018, reaching a total domestic demand of $9 billion and 875 million linear feet of fencing (the Mexico border is 10,501,920 feet long).
Even if every fence company sent a few commercial fence contractors south, there’s also the price tag. Many proposed security fence designs would cost up to $16 million a mile and could cost $25 billion in total (or 416 billion pesos, if Mexico picks up the tab). On the other hand, supporters say the U.S. moon landing was called impossible in the 1960s, but that didn’t stop astronauts from planting an American flag on the moon.