Completing construction of a “Great Wall of Mexico” to discourage illegal immigration along the southern border of the United States would cost billions of dollars, though experts disagree on how many.
Calls to resume previously discontinued efforts to build the border fence intensified in 2014 after a $3.7 billion emergency funding request to address illegal immigration problems “did not include much in the way of border security,” Fox News reported
. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) pushed for the enforcement of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a law signed by then-President George W. Bush that “authorized hundreds of miles of fence construction along the southern border, in addition to more checkpoints, cameras, vehicle barriers and lighting to catch people.”
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The federal government, starting in the 1990s, built one section of such a fence — which was double-layer and triple-layer — near San Diego. Then between the passage of the 2006 law and January 2013 the government put up 651 miles of mostly single-layer fencing along the border, Fox News reported. The Washington Office on Latin America said completing the fence would require additional funding totaling more than $4.1 billion.
A Government Accountability Report showed the U.S. spent $2.4 billion to put up fencing approved under the Secure Fence Act along the nearly 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico, Bloomberg reported
. It added: “And that's just the wall. A Bloomberg Government analysis in 2013 estimated what it would cost to completely seal the border: $28 billion per year.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump weighed in on the topic during an August 2015 appearance on Fox News. Bloomberg reported Trump estimated completing the wall would mean enclosing roughly 1,000 miles.
“Using the previous costs as a benchmark, and without adjusting for inflation, that would put the total price tag for completion at $3.58 billion,” Bloomberg said.
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A 2013 NBC News report
said only that completion of the fence would come at a “mammoth and unpredictable price tag, judging by past efforts.” The report concluded that if construction of the fence were completed, “The cost-effectiveness may not be clear until after the last fence post is driven into the ground.”
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