Mexico

Trump's Wall Is Already Collapsing

Funding and congressional support seems hard to come by.

|

Mexico wall
David Maung/EPA/Newscom

Donald Trump spent more than a year rousing crowds with a simple promise: "I'll build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall." As the campaign wore on, it got so he could ask "Who's gonna pay for the wall?" and the audience would roar, "Mexico!"

It was fun while it lasted. But now, in the cold light of day, some facts are coming into focus: It may not exactly be a wall. It won't be paid for by Mexico. And it may not get built.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is one of the people backing off from this promise. Non-wall options, such as electronic sensors, will have to be considered in some places, he said. You see, "the border is complicated, as far as building a physical wall."

Not only that but where would we locate it? "The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall?" Zinke asked. "We're not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we're probably not going to put it in the middle of the river." The Mexicans won't invite us to erect the structure on their side. So siting may be a problem.

That's not all the Mexicans won't do. President Enrique Pena Nieto has said repeatedly and unequivocally that his government will not bear the cost. Trump had the chance to out-negotiate Pena on the wall when he met with him in Mexico City last summer—but Trump chose not to even raise the payment issue.

The Mexican president was supposed to come to Washington for a White House meeting in January. But when Trump said it would be better to cancel the trip if Mexico was not willing to pay for the wall, Pena canceled the trip.

Trump said that rather than make Mexico pay for it upfront, "we'll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico." So we'll send the invoice and they'll mail a check? Well, not exactly. "There will be a payment," he told ABC News. "It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form."

No one on Capitol Hill seems to share Trump's confidence. When Politico's Jake Sherman asked Mitch McConnell whether Mexico will pay for the wall, the Senate Republican leader couldn't suppress his mirth at the very idea. "'Uh, no,' he shot back, chuckling," Politico reported.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said with solemn vagueness, "We will be working with (Trump) to finance the construction of the physical barrier, including the wall, on the southern border." Faced with the funding disagreement with Mexico, Trump included money for the wall in his budget outline, with the funds taken from other programs.

Republican enthusiasm is not abundant. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said recently that "billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed." Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina agreed it is "probably not a smart investment."

Democrats have promised to block any bill that includes money for the wall, which means they could force a government shutdown if Republicans attach it to the emergency spending measure that needs to be approved by April 28. Ryan said Thursday that the wall appropriation will be dropped to avert a shutdown.

But there may not be much interest in funding it afterward, either. The House Freedom Caucus is generally not fond of spending money, and Trump's declaration of war on the group will not make its members more eager to indulge him.

Plenty of Senate Republicans are also skeptical. "If you're going to spend that kind of money, you're going to have to show me where you're going to get that money," Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said in February. "We can't pay for it out of thin air," said Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.

There don't seem to be many people in Washington who think the wall can be built as Trump claimed or that it would work very well. Not to mention that it sounded a lot better when Mexico was going to pay for it.

Trump fooled a lot of voters when he made that promise, and he may have even fooled himself. But at some point, you run out of fools.

© Copyright 2017 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

110 responses to “Trump's Wall Is Already Collapsing

  1. “But at some point, you run out of fools.”
    There will never be a lack of fools among Reason commenters.
    You know who you are.

    1. “The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall?” Zinke asked. “We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.” The Mexicans won’t invite us to erect the structure on their side. So siting may be a problem.

      Donald J. Trump
      ? @realDonaldTrump
      Failing NY Times didn’t tell me about the river. Sad!
      4:26 AM – 3 Apr 2017

    2. Established Fool Calls Fools ‘Fools;’ No Film At 11

    3. I suppose you as a commenter are an exception. The real fools are those who believed Mexico, not the US Congress and US taxpayers, would pay for the wall. That’s also delusional.

  2. Good thing you’re a big enough man to throw that out there, and without the slightest bit of provocation too.

    Unless you’re projecting?

    1. U no who U R.

      1. You speaky english?

  3. There don’t appear to be many individuals in Washington who think the divider can be worked as Trump guaranteed or that it would work extremely well. Also that it sounded a great deal better when Mexico would pay for it. If you need more information on this topic, you can look here essay-writer-blog.weebly.com.

  4. This is relevant.

    The Congressman who represents the largest district on the border, William Hurd of Texas, strongly opposes the wall. Hurd is a Republican.

  5. The Wall just got 10 feet higher.

    1. The wall now goes to 11.

    2. You can close the comments for this article, BBDD has won.

  6. Go ahead congresscritters, vote against the wall. Your constituents will be reminded of your vote and any malfesence on the part of illegal aliens in your district.

    1. I suppose…til you think that the wall does pretty much nothing to deter illegal immigrants and is a huge waste of money.

      I mean, he/congress could pivot and actually talk about more money for drones, guards, etc. along the border to tighten security and/or increased intent to find those overstaying their visas but I suppose it doesn’t have the ring of “build the wall” does it?

      1. Are you saying it’s security theater? We’ve got to do something, and throwing money down the toilet is “something”, innit? Besides, think of the unemployed masons that’ll have fat government contracts.

        1. We must do something! This is something! Therefore, we must do this!

      2. Literally NONE of that matters. If you’re not in favor of the God Emperor Trump’s budget busting boondoggles, no matter how predictably ineffectual, then you’re an open borders SJW cuck, who wants all the white women raped and murdered by Mexican Muslims (“bad jhombres”).

      3. The wall does something. It’s a giant fucking wall acting as an opaque barrier. It should accomplish that role fairly well. No one said it was a magic force field.

  7. “We MAY get subterranean glaciers made of methane from human waste riddled with fluoride, says non-biased neutral pundit Michael Hihn.”

    “We COULD see the beginning of the end of the middle class’s meteoric idling, says $80k a year journalist Steve Chapman.”

    “I don’t understand the Internet nor do I hearken to the death knell of legacy media, says currently employed journalist.”

    Chapman, this really is fun! And they pay you for this? Neat!

    1. It really is hard to not treat Chapman like a chew toy, isn’t it?

  8. It may not exactly be a wall. It won’t be paid for by Mexico. And it may not get built.

    “Lurlene, I think we’s been had.”
    “I do believe you’re right, Cletus.”

  9. If Steve Chapman says it’s not going to happen, it’s probably going to happen. That’s how this works, right?

    1. It might. If it wasn’t a real possibility, we wouldn’t be seeing article after article about how it can’t possibly happen.

      1. Building a wall on the border is certainly a possibility. People have a lot of experience building walls.

        It’s the practicality that’s the difficult part.

        1. Bring in the Chinese to consult. I hear they have some experience in this area

          1. Be sure to ask the Mongol’s about that Chinese expertise though.

            1. Goddamn Mongorian! Every Chinaman build a wall, they come and try to knock it down!

          2. And it only took them like 1000 years to build it and it worked really well at keeping Mongolians out.

  10. This is a poorly written article with little substance. I agree that the wall is not a sure thing, but Chapman’s article reads more like wishful thinking than hard analysis.

    1. Not that Trump isn’t a flim-flam artist.

      1. Not that DanO is a hip hop florist.

        1. Takes one to know one?

          1. I swear I put that under DanO’s comment.

          2. Fun fact: in 43 states, it takes longer and costs more to become a certified hip hop florist than it does to become a cop.

            1. It takes at least two years to master Ill Beat Overlays with Spring Floral Arrangements.

              Come on now. Being a cop just requires irrational fears, sugar addiction, and a god complex. That’s like 1 in 3 Americans.

    2. It’s a Chapman. You should be going in with those basic assumptions.

  11. Paid for by Mexico was always gravy. It’s doable by taxing remittances. Critics of the wall love to harp on the point about payment. If we had a special tax assessment aimed only at wall supporters I’d gladly pay. It is necessary unlike so much other government spending. Let’s do this.

    1. “Special tax assessment.”
      Obijuan, you might be flying Juan Solo on that one.

    2. Taking US money from people working in the US, while the money is still in the US is not Mexico paying for it.

    3. If we had a special tax assessment aimed only at wall supporters I’d gladly pay.

      Then why not do it yourself? You and your pals can buy property on the border and build whatever wall you feel like building.

      This is like when those liberals say “I’d gladly pay more in taxes to fund the arts”. Well, nothing’s stopping you from funding the arts yourself without using the state as a middle-man.

      1. Well, nothing’s stopping you from funding [whatever bullshit you have a hard-on about] yourself without using the state as a middle-man.

        The ability to virtue signal, knowing it’s never going to happen, followed by the chance to use the state to extract the funds by force is what’s stopping them.

        1. Exactly. That is what is so baffling to me about those libertarians who think that modern-day Republicans are “people we can work with”, as opposed to Progressives. They are BOTH types of collectivists, just on different subjects.

  12. Paid for by Mexico was always gravy. It’s doable by taxing remittances. Critics of the wall love to harp on the point about payment. If we had a special tax assessment aimed only at wall supporters I’d gladly pay. It is necessary unlike so much other government spending. Let’s do this.

    1. So, does obijuan just really hate Mexicans, or does he own a parcel of land on the border that he thinks the feds will take off his hands at a profit?

      1. What part of “necessary” do you not understand.

  13. Didn’t read. Did Chapman blame the Jews?

    1. No, that’s Stef Chappmann. He’s currently barred from speaking at progressive riots.

  14. Worst AM Links ever.

    1. “Like, OMG. Why do you even hang around anymore X, if you literally can’t even?”

  15. Trump needs to talk to China,they know how to build a ‘Great Wall’.

  16. If only there were an example, on planet Urf, of a large wall that was built over serious terrain, and out of common materials.

    1. And as we all know, no Mongolians ever entered China again and China was peaceful and secure from then on.

      1. Yes, the wall is a stupid dick-measuring device. For fuck’s sake.

    2. The Great Wall of China was also built in a time when boundaries were more flexible. The builders could much more easily avoid things like rivers – or even use the river as part of the “wall”. What’s your solution to the river problem that the article points out?

      1. Right, the point of the Great Wall of China was to keep the Mongols and other nomadic tribes out, not follow an already defined border. Thus, Chinese engineers could simply follow whatever path was most convenient for the wall from a construction perspective. (I’m also pretty sure that the ancient Chinese imperial government didn’t really care about private property rights either, so there were no multi-year long eminent domain court cases to try to take property from reluctant landowners.)

  17. Please note that I consider The Wall a titanically stupid idea, but all this handwringing over how we could possibly build such a thing is retarded. We have built reactors that contain atomic fission reactions that we use for energy; we have traveled to the Moon, walked on it, and returned; we have detected, directly gravitational waves that were produced billions of years ago by colliding black holes. Don’t tell me we couldn’t build a few thousand miles of really huge wall if we wanted to.

    1. Bingo. So much handwringing and bushwa about how we can’t possibly do anything about illegal immigration has been written in the past two decades that I think the Trump voters just don’t see it anymore. Their eyes skip over it. It’s largely bullshit, they know it’s largely bullshit, and whatever facts are included the Trumpers don’t want to believe anyway.

      We can do something about illegal immigrants. What we SHOULD do is change the laws so that getting in legally is less of a bureaucratic nightmare. (How do I know it’s a bureaucratic nightmare? because the government runs it, that’s how.) And someday we may do that. The recent history of not changing the laws but not enforcing them either is a textbook example of how to make a bad situation worse.

      1. change the laws so that getting in legally is less of a bureaucratic nightmare

        On the contrary, the problem isn’t that they’re here illegally, it’s that their here. Letting them through legally wouldn’t improve the situation. We need a 20-30 year immigration moratorium.

        1. That’s right. Don’t want any of those filthy Messicans corrupting the purity of American essence.

        2. Fuck you. Tacos are delicious.

          1. Hear, hear

        3. What’s the problem with them being here?

      2. We definitely need to streamline legal immigration and work visa programs. We also need to greatly disincentivize illegal incursion by foreign citizens.

    2. Don’t tell me we couldn’t build a few thousand miles of really huge wall if we wanted to.

      Of course it’s possible from a purely abstract engineering standpoint and I’ve never seen anyone claim it isn’t. However, that would require (a) spending lots of money that nobody wants to spend and (b) figuring out where to put the wall, with none of the choices being especially desirable (as pointed out by Zinke). When people talk about what’s “possible” in the context of politics, they mean what has a realistic chance of getting approved, not literally what the laws of physics permit.

      1. The problem is that:

        (a) The government loves spending tons of money that it does not have, especially if it appeases a core demographic of the party.

        (b) We literally already know where the border of the United States is, and could put a wall along said border no matter where it is. Yes, even in the middle of the god damn river. No problem, just expensive.

        The real problem is that the people who want the wall are both right, and stupid in equal measure. They’re right, because property owners along the border have very real issues with constant migrant populations crossing right through their lawful property lines. And they’re stupid because a wall won’t fix incentives.

        Now, the political problem as it currently stands is that this is a problem mostly for border states (i.e. dumb hick ass rednecks to non-border states) and the northern states can’t see a reason to help them as long as illegal immigrants (or their children) are voting Democrat.

        Ask yourself this: How much is a piece of property worth when thousands of people cross it daily and the police refuse to help you and the federal government also refuses to do their job? “Well, fuck those guys” appears to be the collective vote around here. So much for private property rights, but I already knew there were plenty of people willing to sacrifice other people’s private property for the sake of migrants they’ll never meet. You know, leftists!

        1. How much is a piece of property worth when thousands of people cross it daily and the police refuse to help you and the federal government also refuses to do their job?

          Considering a decent number of people on the border have sued to stop the existing wall programs from being built across their land, quite a lot apparently.

        2. 170,000 border crossings/year / 1,951 miles = 87 crossings/mile/year

          So, no, you mendacious shitheel, this imaginary problem of private property owners whose properties are hemorrhaging value because of “thousands of people cross[ing] it daily” doesn’t exist.

          1. Even if they all crossed at through a single parcel of property, it would be less than 500 crossings per day.

          2. Even if they all crossed through a single parcel of property, it will still be less than 500 crossings per day.

        3. Even if they all crossed through a single parcel of property, it will still be less than 500 crossings per day.

          1. Damn squirrels.

  18. We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.

    I believe someone else has already pointed out somewheres on this here forum, we missing a (rio) gand(e) opportunity to have sharks with laser beams attached to their heads.

    1. Sharks with fricken laser beams attached to their heads. This is a government program — they have to build in all the bells and whistles to keep their baseline budgeting up.

    2. I was going to say crocodiles but I will vote for your plan.

  19. A quick Google search suggests we give some $320 million a year to Mexico in foreign aid.

    On Friday, Welch put up an article suggesting that the tax House Republicans have introduced to tax remittances to Mexico to pay for the wall could bring in as much as $410 million a year.

    https://reason.com/blog /2017/03/31/ congressional-republicans- introduce-a-tr

    Annual income of $730 million a year could finance a wall at Mexico’s expense.

    “The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall?” Zinke asked. “We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”

    Does this person imagine that our water rights would disappear because we built a wall?

    That it’s technologically impossible for civil engineers to incorporate water infrastructure into a physical barrier?

    The old saying, “sour grapes” doesn’t mean that grapes actually become physically sour just because we’can’t reach them. The reverse is also true. Because you don’t like what the government wants to do, that doesn’t somehow magically make doing it physically impossible. Grapes near the ground don’t become impossible to reach simply because you think they’re sour.

    1. A quick Google search suggests we give some $320 million a year to Mexico in foreign aid.

      So now not giving is taking?

      Is anyone actually saying that it is physically impossible to build the wall? Obviously it could be done with enough money and time.

      1. From Mexico’s perspective, we’d certainly be taking it away from them. If I fire somebody, technically, I don’t suppose I’m taking money out of their pockets, but they probably see it that way.

        Let me ask you this: Is there a bill out there stating that If we aren’t giving the money to Mexico, we’ll use it to pay down the debt instead? I’m all for retiring debt rather than building a wall.

        Reardles, the money would still come out of Mexico’s pocket. We’re talking about money that’s scheduled to go into Mexico’s pocket being diverted into a wall instead. Play semantics with it all you want. It is what it is.

        1. Ken, stop being such a humorless fucker. People on here frequently make the point that not giving isn’t the same as taking when discussing possible cuts to some government benefit or subsidy.

          Why the hell are you trying to justify the dumb shit Trump says? Mexico’s not going to pay for the wall. It’s possible that we might cut foreign aid to Mexico or steal money from people trying to send money to Mexico, but neither of those things is “Mexico paying for the wall”.

      2. “Is anyone actually saying that it is physically impossible to build the wall? Obviously it could be done with enough money and time.”

        Did you see the sentence I quoted?

        What I wrote in response to that sentence was written in response to that sentence.

        I have a girlfriend that can’t understand what I’m saying when she doesn’t like the answer. Sometimes, the only word in the answer is “no”. It’s such a simple answer. It’s easy to understand.

        Some people have a hard time understanding answers they don’t like. It’s a form of willful obtuseness.

        1. lol

          You should look up who Zinke is.

        2. The sentence you quoted didn’t say it was impossible either. It said it was difficult to figure out. Which I think it is.

    2. this person

      Do you…realize who Zinke is?

      1. Ken Schulz doesn’t realize much.

    3. “Annual income of $730 million a year could finance a wall at Mexico’s expense.”

      This reminds me of the fact that the federal government wastes about $125 billion a year on improper payments on entitlement programs due to sheer federal government employee incompetence in properly managing those programs.

      And there doesn’t seem to be any serious effort to correct it.

      Where is the outrage over this vastly greater waste of the taxpayers money than would be the incurred in building a border wall? I am in no way advocating building a wall. I think it would not be effective and would waste a lot of money.

      But I find it amusing that there is a such a focus on the purported cost of the wall from a bunch of leftists who don’t bat an eye at the MUCH greater magnitude of waste that happens each and every year on improper payments on those entitlement programs.

      1. “But I find it amusing that there is a such a focus on the purported cost of the wall from a bunch of leftists who don’t bat an eye at the MUCH greater magnitude of waste that happens each and every year on improper payments on those entitlement programs.”

        It’s mostly about discrediting Trump. That’s all they care about.

        If he fails to get the wall built, they’ll criticize him for that, too.

        They’ll criticize him for trying to build the wall, and they’ll criticizing him for giving up.

        1. They’ll criticize him for trying to build the wall, and they’ll criticizing him for giving up.

          Not really, they’ll criticize him for trying, and mock him not for giving up but for failing at something that was so obviously stupid to attempt.

      2. RE: This reminds me of the fact that the federal government wastes about $125 billion a year on improper payments on entitlement programs due to sheer federal government employee incompetence in properly managing those programs.

        And there doesn’t seem to be any serious effort to correct it

        A large percentage of the regulatory portion of the ACA tries to address this, actually. I work in the durable medical equipment field, and believe me, things have changed.

      3. Well, it would probably cost $200 billion and require a whole new department to correct it.

    4. I’m pretty sure $730 million a year would get nowhere near covering even the cost of patrols and maintenance for a wall that long, let alone covering construction costs. At best that might cover the interest expense on the bonds necessary to pay for the construction.

      1. If you’re gonna call yourself “Galt”, you’re gonna have to get your head around finance, son.

        What’s the present worth of ten years of annual payments of $730 million given an interest rate of 2.5%?

        1. So you’re now on the “Increasing Spending in the Future by Less than We’d Originally Planned to Increase It is Really a Cut” train? Because your statement is nonsense otherwise — the wall is 100% paid for with present dollars, whether by taxes, borrowing, or reallocating funds from other things. The money doesn’t come backwards through time to pay for pouring concrete today.

          P.S. The present value of ten years of $730 million with a discount rate of 2.5% is only about $6.4 billion, which wouldn’t even cover what Trump claimed during the campaign the wall would cost ($8 billion) and is less than half of what even the lowest third-party estimates I’ve seen for it are (typically $15 billion).

        2. I swear Ken wasn’t always this mind-numbingly vapid.

  20. Trump fooled a lot of voters when he made that promise, and he may have even fooled himself.

    I heard somewhere that politicians sometimes make ridiculous promises when they’re campaigning. I don’t believe it, but that’s what I heard.

  21. Maybe it could be a magical wall, a wall of voodoo. We could use radio waves or something, Mexican radio waves.

    1. +1 barbecued iguana

      1. I haven’t heard that song for years.

  22. And as was pointed out in the previous article on this subject.

    Walls are only effective if they are backed up by the threat, and/or the use of, lethal force to stop would-be intruders.

    Building a wall, and not backing it up with the threat of lethal force, will be ineffective and won’t work. Because would-be intruders would then just dig tunnels and get tall ladders and what-have-you.

    1. “Building a wall, and not backing it up with the threat of lethal force,”

      Hmmm – I wonder how building a barrier of razor wire in depth over the top a mine field would do.

    2. That’s what the border agents are there for. Pew pew!

    3. see Israel, buffoon

  23. Seems like it would be easier just to legalize drugs. But then that would make too much sense so totally Inconceivable in DC.

  24. RE: Trump’s Wall Is Already Collapsing
    Funding and congressional support seems hard to come by.

    Gee, that’s a shame.f
    Building the wall would only bring about wonderful things, like putting the US government further into debt, keep people who want to embrace freedom and capitalism on the other side and making sure no one outside the People’s Republic of Amerika is allowed in when they should be embracing oppression, terror and murder.
    What’s wrong with these people trying to get into our country?
    Don’t they realize how good they got it in their home country?

  25. Building a wall was always a stupid idea anyway. Clearly,a minefield would be a much more cost-effective deterrent. Oh, and genetically-engineered piranhas for the Rio Grande. Problem solved.

    1. To keep your piranhas alive you’d have to clean up the pollution. You’ve got the Republicans on side for that? And the Trump EPA, they’re all in for clean rivers, right?

      1. RIVERS BEEN GETTING CLEANER EVERY YEAR SINCE 1975, WHAT PLANET YOU LIVE ON

  26. So?

    So Trump was making stuff up out of thin air?
    So previous Administrations had done just about all the wall building that was cost effective? All except the wall around LAX, that is…
    So net-net more Mexicans are leaving than are coming in, so the whole thing is nonsense anyway?
    So a heavy majority of Americans want a clear path to citizenship for these new migrants?

    So how is this story news?

    -dlj.

  27. So?

    So Trump was making stuff up out of thin air?
    So previous Administrations had done just about all the wall building that was cost effective? All except the wall around LAX, that is…
    So net-net more Mexicans are leaving than are coming in, so the whole thing is nonsense anyway?
    So a heavy majority of Americans want a clear path to citizenship for these new migrants?

    So how is this story news?

    -dlj.

  28. “We can’t pay for it out of thin air,” said Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.

    WHAT?

  29. just wait,.Pres. Trump will ( already has) figure out a way, and Mexico, will Have nothing to say About it.. mechanisms already in place..as illegals ship money out of country it will be taxed, and all drug money confiscated will pay,..

    Sometimes I find it amazing how ignorant Libertarian writers are….

  30. Good thing you’re a big enough man to throw that out there, and without the slightest bit of provocation too.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.