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Trump vs. Clinton: The Wall, Again


(Photo: iStockPhoto; Wikimedia Commons; Taylor Le/Pacific Standard)

We’re live from the debate, and Donald Trump just deflected a question about groping female genitals by promising to build a “stronger border.”

Let’s put politics aside for a moment and look just at the feasibility and (again, non-political) implications of such a wall, which Matt Borslaid out in an illustrated piece for Pacific Standard last year:


(Illustration: Matt Bors)

  • It would cost roughly $30 billion for a 2,000 mile wall. (And no, Mexico will not pay for this wall.)
  • A wall would damage hundreds of miles of parkland and wildlife refuge.
  • It would require three times the amount of concrete needed for the Hoover Dam. “That quantity of concrete could pave a one-lane road from New York to Los Angeles, going the long way around the Earth, which would probably be just as useful,” Bors writes.
  • Even when factoring in the Secure Fence Act of 2006—essentially Congress’ mandate for wall construction—building Trump’s wall would require the seizure of land from thousands of Americans through eminent domain.

As to whether a wall would have the desired effect of keeping out immigrants, Bors says simply: “Boats exist.”