If Only We'd Built a Fence Around the Towers


How much does it cost to build a 700-mile barrier across a 1,952-mile border? Last year Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) priced his pet fence at a paltry $2.2 billion. In December the Congressional Research Service pulled out the congressional abacus, crunched some numbers, and found a small discrepancy:

The cost of building and maintaining a double set of steel fences along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border could be five to 25 times greater than congressional leaders forecast last year, or as much as $49 billion over the expected 25-year life span of the fence, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Among the things missing from Hunter's estimate: the cost of the land on which the fence will be built and the cost of building the wall if built by private contractors. At $49 billion, is a wall worth it? Let's ask Tom Tancredo.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who has spoken adamantly in favor of restricting both legal and illegal immigration, remains a supporter of the fence for security reasons as well.

"It's simple: What did 9/11 cost us versus what would it cost to maintain a fence to help prevent that?" said Carlos Espinosa, a Tancredo spokesman. "If we could prevent another terrorist attack, then absolutely it's worth it."