Summary: Building a wall is one of Trump’s major campaign promises. Under the Secure Fence Act of 2006 America spent $6 billion to build 690 miles of fences and walls along the 1,900 mile border with Mexico (in addition to existing walls of unknown length). Here Stratfor examines the mechanics of fulfilling Trump’s promises.
The Hurdles to Building a Border Wall
Stratfor, 23 January 2017.
The building of a border-length wall between the United States and Mexico is a campaign promise that U.S. President Donald Trump continues to nurture. But the construction of such an edifice is no small matter, assuming Congress would even approve or agree to fund the endeavor in the first place. Not only must the Trump administration deal with internal complications — legal opposition, issues of land ownership and physical geography — but there is also the matter of U.S.-Mexico relations and the fluid, adaptive nature of the migrant flow from South America.
The need to build a complete border barrier between the United States and Mexico was a consistent feature of Trump’s campaign trail rhetoric. Even after winning the election, Trump continued to tout the wall’s necessity. Now, it is well within the new administration’s power to seek legal justification and funding to build additional barriers along the border. This could mean additional fencing, but actually building a substantial wall is no small matter. It is relatively straightforward to reinforce places where barriers, such as pedestrian fencing, already exist. But when it comes to the substantial reaches of borderland without fencing, such as the winding path of the Rio Grande as it makes its way through Texas, things become more complicated.
It would be difficult for the incoming administration to justify constructing additional barriers along parts of the exposed Texas border, in part because of the natural barrier posed by waterways, and because much of the land along that section is privately owned.