Friday, December 29, 2017

President Trump, "We're Going To Build A Wall"


First Look At Trump's US Mexico Border Wall

Published on Oct 29, 2017
First Look At Trump’s USA and Mexico Border Wall – Official
Thurstom Mandap
Published on Nov 19, 2017
The engineering here is awesome
President Donald Trump has set in motion his plan to build an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall” between the US and Mexico.
The border is about 1,900 miles (3,100 km) long and traverses all sorts of terrain.
Mr Trump says his wall will cover 1,000 miles and natural obstacles will take care of the rest.
But how much will it cost and who is going to foot the bill?
What is the estimated budget?
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I build them very inexpensively.”
Mr Trump claims the total cost of the wall will be $10bn (£7.5bn) to $12bn. But estimates from fact checkers and engineers seem to be universally higher.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell estimated it will cost between $12-15bn, as he addressed reporters at a Republican conference in Philadelphia.
The 650 miles of fencing already put up has cost the government more than $7bn, and none of it could be described, even charitably, as impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful or beautiful.
There are other reasons the costs would be likely to escalate beyond Mr Trump’s price tag – his plans require extending the wall into increasingly remote and mountainous regions, raising the building costs substantially.
Map showing where there is already a fence between the US and Mexico border
Adding even more to the expense, the new 1,000 miles would crisscross private land, which would have to be purchased, perhaps by legal force, or financial settlements made with owners.
A study by the Washington Post estimated the cost of the president’s wall would be closer to $25bn.
The row over payment
President Trump has always insisted Mexico will pay. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has been equally insistent he will not.
Needing to fulfil his election pledge to start building on day one, Mr Trump has signed an executive order setting it in motion.
He has accepted that US taxpayers will have to cover the initial funding.
Congressional approval would be needed and Republicans have suggested a supplemental appropriations bill could be fleshed out over the next two months.
So, how would that money be recouped from Mexico?
There are a number of options, but nothing has been officially decided.
1. Raising tariffs on imports. Mr Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, said on 26 January that the president wanted a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for the wall, although he later added that it was one of several options still being considered. “By doing it that way we can do $10bn (£8bn) a year and easily pay for the wall, just through that mechanism alone,” he told journalists. Forbes has argued that existing duties on Mexican goods would have to be quadrupled to pay for the whole of the wall, even if its cost were spread over 10 years. US companies would also almost certainly source products from elsewhere, reducing the revenue. The Mexican government could respond by removing tax benefits for US foreign investment. The investment totalled $101bn in 2013.
2. Remittances. Two possibilities here. President Trump could try to use laws aimed at preventing money-laundering to halt Mexicans working in the US from wiring money to families back home. The sector is huge – about $25bn a year. The hope is that the threat would cow Mexico into coughing up for the wall. The second option is to tax the remittances. Either a flat tax on all, or a far more punitive tax on those who cannot prove legal residence. But Mexicans affected by remittances might simply avoid using the wire companies and find undocumented third parties to transfer the cash.
3. Levying a “border adjustment” tax. House Republicans propose lowering corporation tax from 35% to 20% but base it on the place of consumption, not production. Imports would be taxed but not exports. A 20% tax, given the $60bn trade deficit with Mexico, would raise $12bn a year. Mexico could do little, the Washington Post reports, because border adjustments would apply to all US trading partners and would not therefore be seen as a singling out Mexico.
The Wall is Happening!
Posted by: Mark A.
September 1, 2017
One of President Donald Trump’s main campaign promises, and his most contentious issue to date, was to build a southern border wall between Mexico and the U.S. Since his inauguration, there has been significant pushback from Democrats, political organizations, and even some Republicans; but it appears that the wall will be going ahead, anyway.
When he first announced the wall, the president said he would protect:
“the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking and acts of terrorism.”
Despite many months of seeming immobility, President Trump remains committed to getting it built. He said in his Arizona rally last week:
“Believe me; if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”
This is a clear threat to shut down Government on October 1st if funding isn’t approved for the project. Congress hasn’t yet passed a spending resolution to keep the government fully operational past September 30th, and many see this as a very powerful way of getting his mandate fulfilled.
Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner, Ronald Vitiello, held a press conference on Thursday where he announced that:
“Through the construction of prototypes, we are partnering with the industry to identify the best way to build new and replacement infrastructure along our border before we make further investments.” Vitiello said that the prototypes would be built in San Diego using a variety of materials, stressing that this was not a single solution move, and that other protections would be in place:  “The prototypes and resulting wall infrastructure will complement the various other tools that we employ to secure our borders,” he said
The four companies that have been awarded contracts to build the prototype walls are Caddell Construction Company of Montgomery, Ala.; Fisher Sand & Gravel of Tempe, Ariz.; Texas Sterling Construction Company of Houston, Texas; and WG Yates and Sons Construction of Philadelphia, Miss.
Many in the media are wondering how seriously Congress is taking the president’s threat to shut down the government if the budget does not include money for the wall. Advocates suggest that the president is deadly serious and will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the mandate he is carried through.
Mexico has officially stated that it will not pay for the border wall despite President Trump’s assurances that they will; even if it is through reimbursement.

Congress was unable to get the repeal of Obamacare done, which many say will make it harder to get the tax reforms done as well. With mid-term elections looming, the Republican controlled Congress is desperate.  The Wall may be their last chance at a “win” before the mid-term election cycle begins. The Senate especially needs a legislative win or Republicans risk losing seats in the mid-terms.
Donald Trump’s Border Wall: A ‘Progress’ Report
by Jane C. Timm
May 30 2017
More than four months into his term, how close is President Donald Trump to making good on his signature promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico?
Let's take a look.
Has construction begun?
Doesn't look like it. On his fifth day in office, Trump ordered construction of the wall to begin using cash on hand. ProPublica reported last month that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had just $20 million in their coffers for the project, which isn't much when cost estimates for building a border wall range from $1 million to $21.6 million per mile.
The border between the United States and Mexico is more than 1,900 miles, and there's already 694 miles of existing fence. CBP did not respond to inquiries about whether any stretch of new wall has been built, although there are no signs of any activity. Repairs to 40 miles of older fencing were approved in the 2017 funding bill passed earlier this month, but funds for the concrete barrier that so energized Trump's voters have yet to materialize.
In March, CBP put out a call for proposals that asked for two different design options: the very solid, concrete type that Trump described on the trail, and the alternative-material, see-through wall favored by border experts. Finalists will be announced in June, and prototypes will be built shortly afterward.
For the project to truly get off the ground, Trump needs to convince either Mexico or Congress to give him the cash. Few lawmakers in either party have said that funding for the wall is a priority.
Is Mexico paying for the wall?
During the campaign, Trump promised that Mexico would fund it up front. Now, the president says Mexico will eventually pay for the wall, so any money Congress allocates is just a temporary expenditure.
But Mexico says nope.
"Mexico, of course, will not pay," Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said in January, reiterating what he has said repeatedly for the last two years, 
U.S. worker inspects a section of the U.S.- Mexico border wall
A U.S. worker inspects a section of the U.S.- Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters file
The president insists the U.S. can force Mexico to pay, perhaps by taxing remittances — cash residents send from America to friends or relatives in Mexico. One Republican representative has suggested taxing all transfers between America and Latin countries, 
The Border Wall Funding Act of 2017, introduced on March 30 by Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, would put a 2 percent tax on all person-to-person wire transfers to Mexico, the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. Remittances are a big deal; $28.5 billion flows into Mexico every year in remittances.
So, who is really going to pay for the wall?
Taxpayers are expected to pick up the initial tab and, barring a reversal from Mexico or a remittance tax, likely in the long run, too.
How much will it cost?
No one knows for sure, in part because the CBP has yet to chose a design. The Department of Homeland Security reportedly has estimated a wall would cost about $21.6 billion, not including maintenance, while Republican leader Mitch McConnell recently estimated it would cost up to $15 billion. Senate Democrats released a report last month estimating that it would cost about $70 billion to build, and $150 million a year to maintain.
Federal records show that existing fencing built a decade ago cost between $1 million and $3.9 million per mile, with the costs widely varying due to terrain and fencing type. The president’s 2018 budget proposal asks Congress for around $21.6 million per mile to build 74 miles of his wall.
Border Wall Proposal. This undated rendering provided by DarkPulse Technologies Inc. shows a proposed border wall between Mexico and the U.S. The wall proposed by the Arizona-based company would be constructed with ballistic concrete that can withstand tampering or attacks of any kind, according to founder Dennis O'Leary. "You could fire a tank round at it and it will take the impact," he told The Associated Press. AP file
What will the wall look like?
Trump promised voters “a big, beautiful wall." But it might not look like a wall at all. It might look more like the 694 miles of fencing already built.
The CBP proposal requirements indicated that the wall would have to be at least 18 feet high and able to withstand significantly physical force, prevent climbing and tunneling and be aesthetically appealing on the American side.
The Wall Street Journal obtained a slew of the sketches, including one Parthenon-inspired design as well as a double-wire mesh fence design that would offer Americans, but not Mexicans, visibility to the other side.
There’s some indication that fencing may indeed rule the day. Touting the funding secured to repair 40 miles of existing border fencing secured in the omnibus-spending bill Congress passed this month, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney showed images of 20-foot cyclone fencing and told reporters this kind of steel fencing might be the "wall" in the end.
“This is the wall that DHS said they wanted, sat in the Oval Office with the president, we talked about bricks and mortar, we talked about concrete, and this is what they wanted,” Mulvaney said, noting that the DHS believes see-through fencing is safer for border agents. “It’s also half of the cost, so we can build twice as much of it.”
What it would take to build Trump's wall? 
Who actually owns the border?
This is where things get messy.
Much of the nearly 2,000 mile-border is owned by private citizens and businesses, whose property will be bought out from under them by the federal government armed with eminent domain laws that can force owners into deals.
“Are people concerned about the federal government coming in and trying to grab their land? Yes, they are.” Texas Rep. Will Hurd told NBC News. The Republican congressman’s district stretches 820 miles along the southern border. “Private property rights are pretty damn important to us.”
Border Wall Showdown: American Families Fight to Keep their Land
The last time the federal government built up fencing along the southern border with the Secure Fence Act of 2006, eminent domain laws were used to buy up a significant amount of land, often at a discount of the land’s value. A CNN investigation reviewed 442 lawsuits involving 678 property owners; the property owners all lost their land, though some cases remain open to this day. In the end, CNN reported, they expect it to cost more than $103 million to the taxpayer for the government to buy up 600 parcels of land and settle unresolved transactions and litigation expenses.
The Trump administration is revving up for a similar fight. The Department of Justice requested $1.8 million for 2018, enough to staff 20 positions, including 12 attorneys, “to meet litigation, acquisition, and appraisal demands during the construction along the border.” The department currently has just two attorneys and a budget of $329,000 for dealing with eminent domain issues.
What about eminent domain?
“I think eminent domain is wonderful,” Trump told Fox News in 2015, breaking with much of his party, who see it as government abusing its power.
As a businessman, he infamously used it to try and force an elderly widow to sell her property so he could build a parking lot for limousines. He lost the case.
Will a wall deter illegal immigration?
That’s the multi-billion-dollar question.
“Walls work, just ask Israel,” the president said last week at a joint presser with the Colombian president, in his most recent public remarks about his signature promise to America. The administration is quick to note that illegal border crossings are down significantly this year. DHS Secretary John Kelly 
credited this last month to "confusion" about how the new administration will handle immigrants, and the president's tough rhetoric on enforcing immigration laws.
Critics say it's a really expensive way to secure the border, which could be more cheaply done with technology, border agents and fencing.
“My goal is that when we look at border security, we do not have a one size fits all solution, we look at every mile of the border differently than we looked at the one before it,” Hurd said.
Existing fencing has not, so far, stopped immigrants from crossing the border. Existing fencing was 
breached 9,200 times between 2010 and 2015. The government itself says it has yet determine a way of measuring how effective segments of the border walls are at slowing or stopping illegal crossings.
(CORRECTION: May 30, 2017, 9:50 a.m.) An earlier version of this article misstated the cost and composition of the proposed border wall. The per-mile cost of the wall ranges from $1 million to $21.6 million for a barrier that includes fending, non-concrete barriers and concrete, not just for concrete.