The trump wall: Why it won't happen

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    Andy Brown

    Ali F. Rhuzkan, a New York-based structural engineer, estimated in an article for National Memo that a 1,900-mile wall – seemingly Mr Trump’s original plan – would require about 339 million cubic feet (12.5 million cubic yards) of concrete – three times more than the Hoover Dam.

    Mr Rhuzkan’s estimate was based on a wall that ran five feet beneath the ground and 20 feet above. Mr Trump’s claims for the wall range between 30 feet and, more recently, 55 feet. Even at 1,000 miles – vast amounts of concrete would be required.

    That concrete, Mr Rhuzkan wrote, would need to be manufactured in slabs nearby – likely in dedicated plants – and transported to building sites, with all the enormous production and staffing costs involved.

    Mr Trump claims the total cost of the wall will be $10 (£7.5) billion to $12 billion. But estimates from fact checkers and engineers seem to be universally higher.

    The 650 miles of fencing already put up has cost the government more than $7 billion, and none of it could be described, even charitably, as impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, or beautiful.

    There are other reasons the costs would be likely to escalate: Mr Trump’s plans require extending the wall into increasingly remote and mountainous regions, raising the building costs substantially.

    Adding even more to the expense, the new 1,000 miles would crisscross private land, which would have to be purchased, perhaps by legal force, or financial settlements made with owners.

    A study by the Washington Post estimated the cost of Mr Trump’s wall would be closer to $25 billion.

    There are other, more important costs. The environment. What would the construction of a wall mean for animals that live near the border?

    The US-Mexico border region is a delicate ecosystem with regular animal and bird migrations moving between the north and south of the American continent.

    A number of species need to cross the border to mate with their genetically different cousins, including the endangered North American jaguar and black bears, which would be threatened without being able to mate with Mexican bears.

    The wall would also have to take into account natural flooding zones as well as large areas of sand, where the ground effectively moves.

    Then there is the detrimental impact to the landscape of a massive construction project – digging, road building, and the appearance of a concrete wall up to 50 feet high, notwithstanding Mr Trump’s pledge that it will be “very beautiful”.

    trump will have lots of sleazeball GOP support for his wall because of the money and the good ol’ boy government contract system AND the fact that scorch the earth politics is a Republican specialty.


    This ain’t gonna stop me from demanding this wall gets built!


    It won’t happen for two reasons:

    – The sheer magnitude of such a project, and

    – How the hell do you force Mexico to pay for it?


    I’ve always seen the wall as a metaphor. We need to secure our borders. But a physical wall the entire length of the border doesn’t seem very practical. I hope it doesn’t happen. That will be one campaign promise that I don’t mind seeing broken.

    More important is putting someone like Scalia back on the Supreme Court. Perhaps Ted Cruz?


    Given that the Senate isn’t 60-40, I doubt that anyone super conservative will get in the SCOTUS. And Ted Cruz has made enough enemies within the GOP to guarantee that he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.


    I’d welcome anyone not clinically insane who puts the law above their personal ideology. I’m not now, nor was I before the election, expecting or even wanting some progressive bastion of change.


    How do you make Mexico pay for a metaphor?

    Andy Brown

    Foreign trade and foreign policy in general is going to be a giant stumbling block for drumpf and the GOP largely because they have many significantly different views about money.

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