Wall promise may be over the top
Building Trump’s border barrier no easy task
with the idea that if you just build the right kind of wall, no one will get through.’’
Trump disputed that, saying a wall “would be very effective” in deterring illegal migrants and seismic and other equipment could detect and stop any underground tunnels.
“A wall is better than fencing, and it’s much more powerful,” he said. “It’s more secure. It’s taller.”
Trump acknowledged environmental-impact studies would be difficult, but said he is the one person who can rise to the challenge.
“I’m considered a great builder, by everybody,” he said, adding cost is irrelevant because he would force Mexico to pay for the structure.
Asked if that was realistic, Trump said: “It’s realistic if you know something about the art of negotiating. If you have a bunch of clowns negotiating, it’s not realistic.”
Trump has emerged as a leading candidate for the GOP nomination partly because of his strong statements about immigration, which have included describing Mexicans entering the country illegally as “rapists” and “murderers.”
He has suggested at times his proposed wall would be extensive and cover nearly the entire border, but said in the interview: “You don’t have to build it in every location. There would be some locations where you would have guards, where you don’t need it because the topography acts as its own wall, whether that’s water or very rough terrain.”
The concept of a wall or fence along virtually the entire border has bubbled up occasionally in the nation’s immigration debate, with some Republicans supporting the idea. Today, there are more than 45 such walls and border fences worldwide, perhaps most prominently Israel’s West Bank barrier.
While Israeli officials say it has reduced attacks, security specialists say that barrier, slated to be more than 640 kilometres when finished, is not comparable to what would be required along the far more extensive U.S. southwest border. The Israelis, they add, supplement the concrete barrier with a mix of border police and technology, much as the Department of Homeland Security does in the U.S.
In any event, a variety of experts said, the highly militarized nature of the Israeli structure and the Berlin Wall that once divided portions of West and East Germany — infamous for its guard towers and other fortifications — would probably never gain widespread political support in the U.S.
The U.S. government began building border fencing near San Diego in 1990. As Homeland Security cracked down on illegal immigration after the 9/11 terror attacks, then-president George W. Bush signed into law the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which dramatically expanded the effort. Spending on border fencing and related infrastructure such as lighting shot up from US$298 million in 2006 to $US1.5 billion the following year, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.
Overall, more than US$7 billion has been used to build what is now 1,050 kilometres of southwest border fencing — nearly half in Arizona. More than 560 kilometres of that is pedestrian fencing, generally mesh structures that are approximately 2.5 to 4.5 metres high. The remainder is designed to stop vehicles.
The costs could increase substantially if
Experts and government officials say completely securing the U.S.-Mexico border would be virtually impossible.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump says he would force Mexico to pay for a border wall.