Trump’s Border Wall: What’s Next?
Ever since President Donald Trump announced his campaign for president in June 2015, one of his biggest campaign promises has been to build a wall along the Mexico border and have Mexico pay for it. That narrative seems to have taken a slight turn. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump discussed how Mexico “can pay for it indirectly through NAFTA.”
The president also added that by “making a good deal on NAFTA, I am going to take a small percentage of that money to fund the border wall. Guess what? Mexico’s paying.”
This contributes to the larger discussion of President Trump expressing the U.S.’s interests in withdrawing from the trade agreement. Trump has long demanded its Mexican and Canadian counterparts to negotiate more fair terms in favor of the U.S., or else it would abandon NAFTA entirely.
NAFTA trade partners seem to have mixed responses about Trump’s rhetoric on the border wall. While Canada has taken a backseat on the border wall discussion, a Canadian government representative has recently expressed that “the [Canadian] government is convinced that Trump will pull out of NAFTA.” On the other hand, Mexico has previously stated that it would not “pay, under any circumstance, for a wall or any physical barrier.”
While President Trump continues to spar with Mexico, the planning and construction for a border wall is already underway. In September 2017, contractors tested eight wall prototypes along San Diego. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) estimates that officials are expected to spend early 2018 analyzing different designs and prototypes for other areas, such as the Rio Grande Valley.
Annually, the United States spends roughly $110 million to provide immigration protection along the U.S and Mexico border. The Trump administration has recently proposed to spend an additional $18 billion over the next 10 years in order to fund for the border wall. Additionally, in the administration’s 2018 budget, it has asked for $1.6 billion to make fencing renovations for along Texas and California.
Trump’s border wall project has received mixed responses amongst Democrats and Republicans. In a poll conducted by Rasmussen in mid 2017, Trump’s plan to construct a border wall only received 37% support amongst likely voters. While some argue that the project must be completed in order to further crackdown on illegal immigration and crime, critics argue that its construction will have a negative impact on our economy and even our environment.