The border between the United States and Mexico totals 1,989 miles. Currently, border walls of different types of fences span about 670 miles, which cost over $2.4 billion to construct. The construction was ap- proved and funded through the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Most of this fence was built between 2006 and 2009, but Congress failed to allocate additional funding.
After the failure to procure funding, The White House decided to use last year’s national emergency declara- tion to pull $3.5 billion from military counter-drug enforcement. An additional $3.2 billion will be taken from Department of Defense construction projects for additional fencing projects. The number is more than five times the amount allocated to barrier construction by Congress for 2020. The funds transfer would bring the total amount devoted to border wall construction under Trump to $18.4 billion. These actions by the Administration are being challenged in the court system.
So far, the administration has only completed about 101 miles of barrier construction.
Facts You Should Know
- Every year, no fewer than 350 million people cross our border with Mexico—legally! There are 35 border cities, with 48 crossing points and 330 ports of entry.
- The border, largely designed to process single Mexican males, has not adjusted to the demographic shift to Central American families and unaccompanied children. Unlike Mexicans they cannot be swiftly deported to their home country, and families also cannot be indefinitely detained because of rules limiting incarceration of children to 20 days.
- Various policies have been introduced to discourage migration rather than prepare for the high influx and demographic change: separating families; requiring asylum applicants to wait in Mexico while their ap- plications are processed; metering and then closing the border.
- The U.S. has sent more than 56,000 migrants to Mexico under the program, known as the Migrant Pro- tection Protocols (MPP). The majority have been Central Americans applying for U.S. asylum. Mexico’s asylum agency, known as COMAR, reported in late 2019 that it had received 66,915 applications for asylum in 2019, up nearly 126% from the previous year.
- Metering, which limits both the entry points and the number of entrants per day, has dramatically limited the number of people that can seek asylum.
- Construction costs to expand the current wall to cover the entire border with Mexico continues to climb. It is estimated that the actual cost to construct a wall along the remaining 1,300 miles of the border could be as high as $20 million per mile. The cost of private land acquisitions and fence maintenance are push- ing up the total cost to an estimated to $45 billion.