Monday, February 27, 2017

Borders Vs. Walls: Is it Worth the Costs?

Kaitlyn Boelter-Eberhardt
Mrs. Straub
Advanced Economics
28 February 2017

Borders Vs. Walls: Is it Worth the Costs?

As of January 20, 2017, Donald Trump has been inaugurated as the President of the United States of America. Along with his inauguration to presidency comes his plans for this country, one of which has been a major controversy around the world as it becomes more of a reality. So what should we really believe? From the beginning, Trump has incorporated the idea of building a wall along the border of Mexico into his campaign as a way to stop illegal immigration crossing and included finding all the illegals and sending them back to their countries in order to gain back jobs for the American people. Now that Donald Trump has become president and this theory is being turned into a reality, people are beginning to wonder the positives and opportunity costs if this potential action is to be fulfilled. Yet, the evidence shows that this can only be seen in the perspective of positive economics, meaning that it can be proven there will be more costs to the production of this wall than positives.  
Donald Trump told the world that he would begin to build this wall from day one and thus, to fulfill his election pledge, he signed an executive order to put it into the workings. Yet, with this pledge, he told the American people that the Mexicans would pay for this large project and that has been proven a lie. Does everyone believe that though? There is nearly 2,000 miles worth of land across that border that Trump wants this wall to cover. Below shows the 650 miles of existing fencing that was put up by the United States government in 2006 and that only cost nearly $7 billion. He says that his estimate for the cost of the wall is $8 billion to $12 billion because he has always claimed, “ I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I build them very inexpensively” (BBC) while the U.S department of Homeland Security has shown evidence that estimates the cost to be more than $20 billion dollars (Reuters). This would not only be a negative impact on the economy because of the cost to build the wall but also affect the tourism and businesses along the border. This plan that has been told to the world has truly not been analyzed thoroughly as there is way too much risk in the many other costs besides building the wall. Unless Donald Trump takes a step back to truly figure this out then there is not a chance for the country to gain any profit or even break even and can only lead to a colossal net loss.

Works Cited

Ainsley, Julia Edwards. "Exclusive - Trump Border 'wall' to Cost $21.6 Billion, Take 3.5 Years to Build: Internal Report." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 09 Feb. 2017. Web. 26 Feb. 2017. <>.
Burnett, John. "Donald Trump Moves Forward With Plan To Build Border Wall." NPR. NPR, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 26 Feb. 2017. <>.

"Donald Trump's Mexico Wall: Who Is Going to Pay for It?" BBC News. BBC, 06 Feb. 2017. Web. 26 Feb. 2017. <>.


  1. I agree with your arguments against the construction of a wall. There is no gain to be made from the difficult constructions of the wall. There are just to many obstacles whether they be terrain, infrastructure, private property, and cost. Instead, we could use money for public spending like building bridges, roads, and maybe a fast-rail system to connect the country together more.

    1. Having an opposite opinion, I would like to refer to President Trumps official "Pay For The Wall", Which I will put a link to below. According to this short but informative document, there are several steps ensuring Mexico pays the USA back for the wall. Step 1 is to stop all money transfers from illegal aliens to mexico, a total of around 24 billion a year which supports the poor areas of Mexico. This amount is enough Mexico will pay the stated 7 billion to the USA to allow these transfers to persist. The step we are currently working with, trade terriffs is bringing manufacturing jobs back from mexico, rendering many of their citizens unemployed as automotive plans are planning to move to the USA. Even a small increase in Visa fees for legal Mexicans would pay for the wall, 1 million a year. This means charging under $10 more a year for visa fees would ensure a wall is constructed. All of these methods are simply utilizing the leverage the USA has over Mexico, and seeing as to how much trump has done in his first 30 days, I am convinced construction on a wall payed for by mexico will be soon in effect.

      Trumps Plan:

      Trump, Donald. Pay For The Wall. N.p.: Donald Trump, n.d. PDF.

  2. Economically, the construction of the wall seems unneeded in my opinion. Since Mexico has stated they will not pay for this, the money will come out of the pockets of taxpayers. This will then cause for imports from Mexico to cost much more and it might cause more backlash onto Trump and his administration. If the rest of this fence does get built, illegal immigration will still not end. People will still find a way to come into the United States. The billions of dollars used to pay for this wall could be used in different ways, be it for immigration reform or other sectors of the economy, such as infrastructure or energy. There are other solutions towards illegal immigration, and I don't think building a wall on the border is the best possible way to come at this problem. For history shows us that the Berlin wall did more bad than good. Although I somewhat understand why the president thinks this is a good idea, I don't think this will be substantial because of the effects it will have on the people, immigrants, and eventually on his administration.

  3. I think that whether or not it is "right" to build a wall on the border, it is economically inefficient. By sending all of the illegal immigrants back to Mexico, jobs will open up. But the workers replacing them will be American citizens who will likely be demanding higher nominal wages because the illegal immigrants most likely would take whatever is offered to stay under the radar, while an American worker may demand wages that are higher if they feel they are being paid unfairly. If this happens on a large enough scale, America might go through a period of inflation until the government to intervene to fix the problem. Overall, the economics of the wall will most likely not work.

    P.S. What about illegal immigrants that come via air or boat?


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