President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team have begun to reveal how they are going to fulfill Trump’s biggest campaign promise of building a wall on the United States-Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants. On Jan. 6, his team made it clear to congressional Republican leaders that he is looking to find funding for his “Great Wall” through the appropriations process as soon as April.
While running for president, Trump promised his supporters that he would build the wall and make Mexico pay for it. Former Mexican President Vincente Fox responded by saying, “We are not going to pay for that f***ing wall.” Even after outrage from the Mexican public and their politicians, the President-elect continued to push this promise throughout his campaign.
Using the appropriations process would essentially break his campaign promise because it would rely on U.S. taxpayer money and not revenue from the Mexican government. Trump defended this move through Twitter, “The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!”
The President-elect and his team have offered up only one option to force Mexico to pay for the wall. He has said that if they do not show documentation proving their legal status, he would block Mexicans who want to send money from the U.S. back home to Mexico from doing so. On his campaign website he states, “It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5 (billion)-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.” He speaks of a $5 to $10 billion cost but some experts believe it to be more.
Most recently, Trump has said the wall will cost about $8 billion. A Washington Post study refutes that by estimating that it would likely cost $2 billion just for the raw materials, which would include concrete, rebar and steel. According to a top construction analyst, the entire wall could cost $25 billion of taxpayers’ money.
This change in Trump’s biggest campaign promise does not instill much confidence in his detractors, especially, with his inauguration on the horizon.