Ten reasons why $5 billion cannot build a wall on the US southern border

Felicia Persaud | 1/31/2019, 12:14 p.m.
Donald Trump is lying again—bigly—and the American people, especially more than 800,000 federal workers, contractors and their families, paid the ...

Donald Trump is lying again—bigly—and the American people, especially more than 800,000 federal workers, contractors and their families, paid the price.

The fact is that nowhere in hell can $5 billion build a mile of wall, much less an entire wall, on the U.S. southern border. But it keeps his base of the unlearned and bigoted in his camp, and so he keeps on playing the same tune they love to hear—of how the Brown and Black foreign devils are invading the country; how they are up to no good except to rape, kill, take away jobs and get their children hooked on those very bad drugs; and, oh, let’s not forget the dog whistle in all this nonsense, darken the gene pool and decrease white power.

Trump and company know $5 billion for a “wall” is a lie, but they tell it anyway, over and over and over again, while tens of thousands worry how they are going to pay their rent or mortgages and other bills and get food, gas and medicine to survive.

The truth is they do not care because they cannot relate to living pay check to pay check. They are multimillionaires and billionaires after all, and the lie makes them look tough and keeps the “base” in check.

But $5 billion cannot build a wall and it’s an absolute heinous reason to shut down the government. Here’s why:

  1. The wall would have to be 3,145 kilometers or 1,954 miles long, which is the total length of the continental Mexico-United States border. And as some experts have pointed out, building a physical barrier will only cede American land south of the wall to Mexico.
  2. It must be able to cross vast tracts of the arid Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts, be built on rugged mountains that are home to many species of flora and fauna and along winding rivers, as well as on Native-American reservations and privately owned land before reaching the Pacific Ocean.
  3. That would take a whole lot more than $5 billion to make a reality because currently, only 654 of the 1,954 miles are covered by some type of fence.
  4. It took $60 million and 2 million cubic yards of dirt alone to fill in the canyon approximately 2 miles from the Pacific Ocean between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego that is known as Smugglers Gulch and create a Border Patrol road running across the top of it, along with stadium lights and three lines of new fence.
  5. Then there is the $57.7 million it cost in 2008 to construct just a 3.6-mile steel fence in the Otay Mountain Wilderness, which includes a 3,500-foot mountain peak known for its steep climb and abundance of tarantulas.
  6. Just last year alone, construction on a new “wall” in New Mexico, which is mostly slat fencing,, cost $73.3 million for just one 20-mile stretch of the border territory, Business Insider reports.
  7. Then there is Texas. The entire length of the Texas border runs along the Rio Grande, creating a jagged, twisting natural barrier that creates logistical problems both for border-crossers and for the U.S. authorities who patrol the area. Add to that a slew of laws and regulations, including international treaties and flood-zone requirements, and wall construction along the unfenced 1,126 miles of Texas-Mexico border becomes a daunting and costly task.
  8. Constructing a wall would include having to pay for the use of privately owned land from U.S. citizens on the border. Even 10 years later, according to Pro Publica, there are still open lawsuits from people who still haven’t been paid for the use of their land, a costly legal battle indeed, way more than $5 billion.
  9. No matter what Trump says, there’s at least 75 miles of the U.S.‐Mexico border where troops can’t go. The Tohono O’odham Nation of Native-Americans has inhabited what is now southern and central Arizona and northern Mexico since “time immemorial,” and because the federal government gave control of that land to the Tohono O’odham more than 150 years ago, it will now require an act of Congress to take it back and build a wall.
  10. Then there is the environmental toll. One of the wildest areas of Texas, which holds some of the most treasured conservation areas on the continent, is Big Bend National Park, which lies in the jagged U-bend in the middle of the Texas-Mexico border. The park contains river, mountain and desert ecosystems that sustain fragile populations of black bears and other large mammals that are slowly recovering from an overhunting epidemic that began back in the 1950s. The devastating impact on the wildlife on the border would be hard to measure. One University of Arizona wildlife biologist, Aaron Flesch, said an unbroken border wall would likely entirely destroy the ongoing conservation efforts for endangered cats.

So, unless Trump can turn $5 billion into $500 billion, I doubt he can build his wall.

The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc., which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPRWire and InvestCaribbeanNow.