While some manufacturers claim that vinyl fences are about five times stronger than wood fences, President Trump’s legendary wall-to-be along the Southern border would most likely be made out of brick, concrete, and thousands of miles of beautiful barbed wire. Unfortunately, a white picket fence might not send the right message.
Right before his January 20 inauguration, the then President-elect reached out to Congress in a bid to get the ball rolling on building the wall. The catch? Now Trump is expecting the $14 billion dollar U.S.-Mexico border wall to be funded by taxpayers.
The 2,000-mile wall is meant to prohibit illegal immigrants from entering the United States, and it became one of the defining characteristics of Trump’s winning presidential campaign. When asked who would pay for the wall, Trump famously assured the American people that Mexico would foot the bill.
However, back in August 2016, Trump flew down to Mexico to meet with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. After the meeting, Trump revealed that the issue of the wall was never brought up; however, Nieto fervently insisted that the pair personally spoke about the issue. Nieto said he made it very clear that Mexico would under no terms be responsible, financially or otherwise, for building a border wall.
Now, Republican lawmakers in favor of the wall are looking to a bill signed by George W. Bush in 2006 for potential funding. The 2006 Secure Fence Act authorized more than 700 miles of a secure “physical barrier” with Mexico, and while it has not been put into practice, Trump can easily pick up where the latter Bush left off.
The bill would require new money allotments from Congress, which means there will most likely be a showdown between the Republicans and Democrats, who have publicly voiced their concern over the proposal many times.
But what’s truly hindering the case is the fact that a lot of Democrats holding seats in Congress initially voted for the Secure Fence Act, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. So this leaves a contentious battle ahead, where the Republicans believe the Democrats have no feasible right to say no to a wall they agreed to just 11 years ago.
“There’s already in existing law the authorization for hundreds of miles of build out on the southern border,” said House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer to Politico. He added, “so, one important step in the right direction will be funding the existing law and beginning the building out of hundreds of miles of wall, or fence, on the southern border.”
Before Congress comes to an agreement, they must first decide where the money for Trump’s wall is coming from. Trump is still standing staunchly on the fact he will force Mexico to pay up eventually, but even if Mexico agreed in the future, lawmakers say there must be some sort of down payment to start the building process. That’s where the American taxpayers come in.
Of course, that also raises a whole other set of questions, especially considering that some border states don’t collect individual income tax that could be used for the wall’s initial construction. The seven states that don’t collect an individual income tax at the state level include Florida, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.
If Trump wants to build the wall and get Mexico to pay for it later, his administration will either have to use taxpayer money or take out billions in loans.
For now, the American public will have to wait and see what will happen along the southern border, and if Trump’s presidency will finally deliver on one of his most important campaign promises.