I'm not sure if you heard, but president-elect Donald Trump is really amazing at a whole lot of things. Just ask him and he'll tell you; he's good at words, good at avoiding his taxes, good at respecting women. But he is especially good at building walls. One of Trump's strongest platform promises was to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Since he's a real estate mogul, he should be pretty good at it, right? Here's the thing, though: realistically, how much would Trump's wall actually cost?
According to Trump, not a dime. Because he is planning on having Mexico pay for it. On June 16, 2015, a day that will go down in infamy as the day Trump announced his intention to run for president (remember we all sort of laughed? Yeah, me too.), he told his supporters:
I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.
He also promised to ship 11 million undocumented immigrants back over that border wall to Mexico. Although it's sort of like the chicken and the egg; which comes first?
Now that he has actually, for real, won the election, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto congratulated Trump but reiterated that his government will not be paying for that wall. It can't help that the Mexican peso dropped 13 percent overnight after Trump's victory; because the border wall Trump wants to build would cost a whole lot of pesos.
While Trump was elusive about the cost on his website, he has said the cost of the wall would be up to 12 billion dollars. The border between Mexico and the United States is 2,000 miles long, with 650 miles already equipped with fencing for crossing between the two countries. The wall Trump would like to build would require 339 million cubic feet of concrete; three times the amount it took to build the Hoover Dam.
Trump's estimate might be just a hair off the actual cost; a study done by the BBC estimated the border wall could cost up to 25 million dollars. Trump reasoned on his website that:
It's an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5 (billion)-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.
Trump was referring to the 24 billion dollars immigrants send back to Mexico every year when working in the United States. Considering Trump's plans to deport many of those immigrants, perhaps his bullet-proof plan to have Mexico pay for the border wall is not as sound as he thinks.