Eight Wall Prototypes, None Meet Operational Standards or Trump's Cost Estimate


There are now 8 wall prototypes of varying cost and beauty. None meet operational standards or Trump's purported cost.

Trump's Slat Steel Barrier


A standoff over funding for President Donald Trump's long-promised border wall has resulted in the longest-ever shutdown of the US government.

Trump wants $5.7 billion to build a beautiful wall to stop the "humanitarian and security crisis".

House speaker Nancy Pelosi says no. So here we are. Let's ponder designs and costs as described in Trump Wall - All You Need to Know.

No New Additions

Before Mr Trump took office, there were 654 miles of barrier along the southern border - made up of 354 miles of barriers to stop pedestrians and 300 miles of anti-vehicle fencing.

Trump wants a 2,000 mile wall.

Estimated Cost for Trump's Wall

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) previously estimated a wall spanning half the border would cost up to $25 billion, but it has now said it is still looking at options to determine the price tag.

US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) says that, on average, it costs approximately $6.5 million per mile to construct a new border wall or replace existing legacy fence.

Assuming the current 654 miles are all usable, the math is simple enough. (2000 - 654) * $6.5 Million= $8,749,000,000. That is well under their estimate. If one assumes that the entire wall will be replaced, we arrive at $13 billion.

I do not believe these estimate include land cost, and they are also likely low-ball estimates. One can likely toss Senator McCaskill's estimate out the window as well.

Eight Prototypes

Officials at the US Customs and Border Protection agency have said none of the Trump administration prototypes tested in 2017 met its operational requirements.

However, they did provide "valuable data" to help select design elements in the future, they added.

Illegal Immigration From Canada

Most illegal immigration is from visa 'overstayers', not people crossing the border. Although the number of overstayers overall dropped to around 420,000 in May 2018 - it was still more than the number of people arrested trying to enter illegally via the Mexico-US border.

Land Seizures Continue

The Texas Tribune reports feds moving ahead with land seizures for South Texas border wall.

As a national debate raged about family separations at the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection told a group of South Texas officials earlier this week that the federal government plans to move forward with private land seizures in the Rio Grande Valley to build sections of President Donald Trump’s border wall.

An investigation last year by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune found that the federal government invoked a little-known Great Depression-era law that allowed it to swiftly seize land to build the barrier and compensate landowners later. Dozens of landowners whose property was taken for the barrier still haven't received compensation as lawsuits over the fair value of the seized land linger in court.

The investigation also found that during the process the U.S. Department of Homeland Security cut unfair real estate deals, secretly waived legal safeguards for property owners and ultimately abused the government’s extraordinary power to take land from private citizens.

You may also wish to consider Trump’s border wall threatens to end Texas family’s 250 years of ranching on Rio Grande.

It's easy to support the wall as long as it isn't your property being seized, and your cattle's access to water shut off.

And for what? It is unlikely to stop the flow of humans or drugs. If by some chance it stops drugs, prices will go up, and so will the number of crimes committed to pay for drugs.

Death Wall Might Work

If you want to build a wall that works, make it a double wall each 6 feet tall, with 40 yards separating the walls.

Shoot anything with two legs that enters the zone. After a few deaths and huge public outcry, the illegal entries from Mexico would stop.

That is not a serious suggestion, I am merely stating a wall plan that would be cheaper and arguably work better.

How badly do we want to protect our borders?

A Better Wall

Alternatively, and better yet, enforce e-Verify, place stiff penalties on companies that violate it, and shut off all benefits for illegals.

In the grand scheme of things, $6 billion for a wall or even $20 billion is not a lot of money.

Were it not for the odious land grab, and threats of property ending up on the wrong side of the fence (it has happened already), one might conclude "it's a small price to pay".

However, people who make such rationalizations are seldom the ones paying the "small price".

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (23)
No. 1-13

It's security theater to distract from trump's impending impeachment and conviction, nothing more. Doesn't matter if it's 'effective' or not.


This is the problem. Trump is approaching this from a position of weakness. He can't offer full amnesty, the logical opening negotiation because his base won't permit it and Trump is beholden to them. So Trump is offering three years of temporary amnesty for a problem he himself created to end the shutdown which is another problem he created. The whole thing shows how dysfunctional Trump is. Three years is less than the time it takes to graduate college? Nobody can get on with their life in a situation this transient.

I"d like to see the two sides negotiate. Only thing that makes sense is wall funding for solving DACA but that's not going to happen. There's a reason why Trump's previous offer got pulled. And Democrats perceive that if they give in on this, Trump will pull the same stunt over planned parenthood or something else.


Mish, Do you actually believe Trump has anyone working the budget numbers and crafting a white paper proposal? Trump's operated his whole life on promising something and worrying about details later. Doubt Trump had any idea what he was promising voters when he led those Mexico will pay for wall chants


So every barrier to inexpensive self-driving vehicles will be solved long before we can solve inexpensive barriers? Scott Adams (Dilbert) in his periscopes continually says to leave it to engineers. Strangely, Israel's wall works and they may be even more the target of attacks.

But you are correct. As an alternative 1. Mandatory E-Verify, including for nannies and gardners. And just pay a reasonable reward for information leading to anyone hiring illegals (and add whistleblower protections). Meat packers? The minimum wage citizen should be able to retire if 100 illegals are arrested. Dial for dollars: 1-888-4de-port, then wait for ICE to show up.

Also put the "asylum seekers" and others challenging deportation in Puerto Rico in camps. They aren't going to swim to the mainland. Spanish is the main language. After the hurricane, they need capital. Think of it as a much bigger, but kinder, gentler GITMO. Send every alien that overstayed or comes in illegally there where they won't be with their families, won't find a sanctuary city, etc. and see what happens.



"There are around 10 to 13 million illegal immigrants in the US (depending on who you ask). If most illegal immigration is from visa 'overstayers' and the total number of overstayers is 420,000 then something doesn't add up, right?"

How did they get in? What is the current (not past) state of the problem?


Democrats call the wall "immoral."

So Mish - is it immoral?

And funny, I never heard a democrat or a Mish argue about the tens of billions that obama's DACA EO has cost and will continue to cost the American taxpayer for free education, food, health care, housing, incarceration....etc.

And the hundreds of billions that illegal criminal invaders are costing America.

Maybe a Mish article on a wall ROI...


Easy solution - emigrate to Australia - we already have a wall, it's called the Pacific and Indian Oceans, heh


"Although the number of overstayers overall dropped to around 420,000 in May 2018 - it was still more than the number of people arrested trying to enter illegally via the Mexico-US border."

This statement doesn't tell me anything useful about the problem. It implies that the fewer the arrests, the greater the problem is from overstayers relative to border-crossers. That doesn't accurately quantify the problem. For example, if the US stopped arresting anyone trying to enter illegally, it does not follow that the illegal immigration problem is solely the result of overstayers.

The important number is missing: how many migrants are getting through the border without being arrested? Does anybody know that figure?


I'd run a gasoline pipeline on the border instead of a wall. They see that, they'd stop in their tracks and try to tap it, which they are not good at.


The "Church of Wall" is getting as absurd as the "Church of Climate Change."

But, ok, I'll play the game. Lets say the wall gets built. The democrats simply set up charter flights from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to sanctuary cities and states in the US.

Trump gets his wall. The democrats get their voters and both sides call it a win and shut the hell up.

"Any Responsible Adult 2020" This Kindergarten act is getting old.


Lots of nations have walls. They work.

Build it and stop obfuscating.

Get it done


"None Meet Operational Standards", in your title yet you fall to talk about it. Click bate much? Visa overstays and simply walking across an open boarder aren't the same thing. Land seizure is a scary word for eminent domain, not sure where you are from but I've seen plenty of it in NJ, from downtowns to beach front. They actually pay you for your property, yes most cry its not what they want, some go to court but in the end government always wins. Life goes on.

Global Economics