Trump's Wall Cost: Is the Trump administration underestimating the price for a new Mexico border?


"Build the wall!" became perhaps the best-known chant from the campaign of President Donald Trump. Now, he's trying to make that U.S.-Mexico border wall happen (much to the chagrin of the entire state of Texas).

Trump claimed the wall would cost roughly $12 billion, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested in January a price tag of up to $15 billion.

By February, the Department of Homeland Security had its own estimate. Unsurprisingly, the cost had jumped higher once again. The new tag: $21.6 billion.

But the number just seems to keep climbing.

Christian Torres/AP

Senate Democrats say the price is astronomically higher

The Democrats on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs assembled a report, and the number they presented is an astounding $70 billion.

The climbing price may be due to a difference in calculation, as Vox pointed out.

"When the original Secure Fence Act was passed, the 2006 legislation that called on DHS to build up roughly 700 miles of border security, Congress estimated the whole project would cost roughly $50 billion over 25 years [...] This [new wall project] is a cost that will have to incorporate legal fights — kicking people off their privately owned land — and difficult terrain, including the Rio Grande river and canyons further west. Accommodating the geography will only hike up the spending."
Christian Torres/AP

Mexico isn't paying the initial tab for the wall 

Trump can make Mexico pay for the wall, per the Washington Post. But there's a huge catch to the president's campaign promise.

Mexico would not be paying the actual bill for the actual wall. Instead, the U.S. could impose a border adjustment that taxes imports and would result in revenue from Mexico due to our trade deficit with the country.

This option allows Trump to technically keep his promise to make Mexico pay for the wall in the end, but the logistics remain murky as the wall's projected price skyrockets.