One year after Trump’s inauguration, what progress has been on one of his most famous election pledges – building a wall on the Mexican border?
2016 seems a long time ago now, the UK was not preparing to leave the European Union, Barack Obama was the US president and David Bowie was still alive. But cast your mind back far enough and you may remember that at the end of 2016 Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America after promises to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, paid for by Mexico.
Trump wanted to build the wall due to concerns about drugs and crime as a result of illegal immigrants pouring into the US from across the border.
Fast forward to 2018 and Trump has been President for a year, so what progress has been made?
In September 2017, eight prototype walls of between 18 to 30 feet were started in San Diego, so there is evidence to suggest that Trump’s wall promises weren’t all just rhetoric and a report was commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security that estimated that it would take three and a half years to build the wall fully. However, critics argue that it is unlikely the wall will ever get built as the funding for the wall must be approved by Congress and the policy is opposed by Democrats as well as many Republicans.
Financially the initial phase of the wall has been estimated to cost $18Bn over a decade, Trump’s initial estimate was £$10Bn. This funding would go towards over building 300 miles of fencing and reinforcing the existing 400 miles of border protection already in place. This does not take into account the costs of planning, training and construction of access roads. All told the project could cost as much as $33Bn in the first decade.
The question still remains as to who will bare these costs. Mr Trump still maintains that he has a good relationship with Mexico and that they will pay for the wall “in some form”, however, Mexico’s stance has also not changed in that they will not pay for it. To date, US Congress has not appropriated any funds to the project to advance beyond the testing phase and Mexico have not sent over a single cent.
Trump remains adamant that the wall will get built, praising the prototypes, and is trying to put pressure on Congress to respect his democratic mandate, but the bottom line is that the total mileage of wall that has been built is zero.