Since referring to undocumented Mexican immigrants as “criminals and rapists“, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump has worked to refine his vision for immigration reform in the United States. Trump has stated that the United States should do everything to stop illegal immigration, including building a wall on the southern border, which Trump insists Mexico will pay for, and deporting the entire undocumented immigrant population to then expedite the process of bringing some of them back into the country legally. The reality of Trump’s plan is that it would costs billions upon billions of dollars.
According to a 2009 Government Accountability Office report, the average cost of fencing per mile is around $2.8 million to $3.9 million for the easiest-to-install and least expensive urban fencing. And according to the Migration Policy Institute, the costs of any such fence go up dramatically in more remote and desert areas, as much as $58 million for three and a half miles in difficult terrain. Calculate the total length of the southern border and Trump’s “Great Wall” plan comes out to around $20 Billion. And this wouldn’t include any maintenance or staffing costs which would run billions more annually. And yet another huge cost would be the fact that much of the border land is privately owned, so the Department of Homeland Security would need to likely spend billions more to acquire private land.
But the cost of a Wall would pale in comparison to what it would cost to actually deported the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security believes there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and according to a study by the Center for American Progress, it would cost around $200 billion to “find and arrest, detain, legally process and transport the undocumented population over a five-year period.”
Its clear that Trump’s Immigration plan would share the same fate as most of his other Hotel and Casino business ventures: Chapter 11.