The US-Mexico Border and the Trump Wall, Essay Example

Published: 2022-12-08
The US-Mexico Border and the Trump Wall, Essay Example
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Immigration International relations America Foreign policy Donald Trump
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1692 words
15 min read


The US-Mexican border is a 3,145-kilometre stretch separating the United States of America and Mexico. Globally, the US-Mexican border is the most crossed-over border with an estimated entry of 350 million legal immigrants each year (AFP, 2010). To handle the huge number of crossings the US-Mexico border has 48 crossings and 330 ports of entry where those getting into the US undergo a search.

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Despite the numerous ports of entry and security measures at the border, there are still a large number of illegal immigrants who get into the US through the Mexican border. According to a 2010 report by the United States Border Patrol Agency (USBP), 90 per cent of the total illegal border crossings were from Mexico alone (National Research Council, 2013). Because of the high rate of illegal crossings, the US has invested heavily in various security measures along the border to make it less porous.

Among these security measures was the Appropriation Bill signed in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama which gave the Border Patrol, which is under the Department of Customs and Border Protection (USBP), US$600 million as part of its budget. This allocation would be used to improve security at the border. This, and many other security measures by the USBP and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) such as allocating more officers at the border points well as the use of technology assets, has helped in apprehending illegal immigrants in the US.

The US Customs and Border Protection unit pays a great deal of attention to Mexican immigrants as they account for the majority of illegal immigrants in the US. As of 2010, there were more than 10 million illegal immigrants in the US, with 51 per cent of this number consisting of Mexicans alone. It can, therefore, be concluded that immigration is a big problem for the US and hence the strict measures that are being put in place.

This paper will delve into one of the strict measures being proposed; that is the building of a wall between the US and Mexico as well as the deportation of all illegal immigrants from the US. In its analysis, this paper will point out the current impending crisis of building a border wall and the possible solutions to it.

The Trump Wall

The current US president Donald Trump during his campaign of 'Make America Great Again' proposed the building of a much larger wall on the Mexico border, saying that he "would build the wall and make Mexico pay for it". In his proposal, President Trump seeks to expand the current border fence separating the US and Mexico. True to his word, the Trump administration signed Executive Order 13767 on 25th January 2017 which permitted the US government to start plans on building the border wall.

However, this has faced a number of setbacks mostly owing to the huge financial demands required in constructing the wall. According to experts, the construction of the Trump wall will cost approximately $16 million per mile (1.6 kilometres) and will total to about $25 billion; minus maintenance costs, which might cost $750 per year (Loiaconi, 2015). The Executive Order indicated that the wall would seek funding from the federal funds, but due to the huge expenses, the federal government was consequently temporarily shut down between 22nd December 2018 and 25th January 2019.

The shutdown was as a result of a standoff between the Democrats and Republicans, who have different views on the proposal of a wall. The Trump Republican administration insists that the wall is necessary for security purposes; however, the Democrats insist that the proposal is a waste of taxpayer's money. The disagreement and lack of mutual understanding between the two could potentially cause a crisis for the US as government and country.

The Looming Crisis

As a major campaign tool for the Trump administration, the building of the border wall is set to happen on way or the other. Without proper mutual understanding, the construction of this wall could potentially cause a crisis for the country. As stated earlier, illegal immigration is a real problem for the US government, and therefore strict security measures need to be put in place. Part of these measures is enhancing the already existing border walls and fences to make them more secure.

The debate on whether to construct or not construct the Trump wall could potentially have two threats. The first is that if the proposal goes ahead there will be more government shutdowns in the future. The most recent shutdown, which ran from 22nd December 2018 to 25th January 2019, was the longest shutdown in US history (Aljazeera, 2019). During a shutdown, the US Congress usually does not pass legislation or the President may refuse to sign legislation geared to fund the federal government's functions and its agencies. Among the agencies that are affected by the shutdown include Homeland Security; Treasury; State, Housing and Urban Development; EPA; IRS; Agriculture; Commerce and Interior.

A long-running government shutdown is alarming as services from affected agencies can no longer be offered until a budget compromise is reached. This has diverse effects, particularly to the economy as there is usually a massive loss of revenue (Stewart, 2019). During the 35-day shutdown, which was as the result of Democrats opposing the $5 billion demand by Trump for the wall, more than 800,000 workers were affected (Aljazeera, 2019). Some Federal employees were expected to work without pay while others were placed on temporary leave. The effect of this on those with families is immense and has consequently led to the government being sued.

Other agencies were also affected, such as the Immigration courts, which now have a massive backlog of pending cases. Other services such as museums and zoos were closed down while services such as healthcare have stopped. These are just but a few mentions of the enormous effects of a government shutdown. Without an agreement from both parties, future shutdowns may even be worse and may affect more agencies and more people. As an option to evading a shutdown, the Trump administration may consider tapping into funds allocated for military use. This could seriously affect the defence of the country.

The second threat is there will be an increase in the number of criminals if the border security is not dealt with. As mentioned earlier, there are a huge number of illegal immigrants in the US and this can pose a security threat as some of these immigrants may be criminals. They could be involved in the smuggling of illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, or they could be involved in other criminal activities such as sexual violence and murder. Another security threat that is affiliated with border security is terrorism, which has been a long-standing threat to the US.

Increasing criminal activity in the US could potentially not only affect the economy of the country but also affect the daily lives of Americans, who could now start living in fear. Acts of violence such as mass shootings have been widespread in the country and this has affected the lives of so many people, both the young and the old.

The Possible Solution

By analysing the above threats, it is quite clear that there is a need for compromise for those in power. As stated in previous paragraphs, the latest government shutdown was as a result of conflicting views on the allocation of funds towards the Trump wall. There are both pros and cons in the situation. Building the border wall could help enforce better security along the US-Mexico border, however, the cost to be incurred could really hurt the economy.

The solution, therefore, is coming up with a middle ground for both the Republicans and the Democrats in ensuring better security for America in a way that will not hurt the economy. A good place to start could be in finding affordable but effective material that can be used in constructing the wall. Another solution could be finding better alternatives to sources of funding instead of government shutdowns and military funding.

The Trump administration is, however, planning on using is executive powers to seek funding from different government agencies. These agencies include funding from the Homeland Security; from the Treasury's department on drug forfeiture; from the Defence Department on drug interdiction, and from the Defence Department on military construction (Collins et al, 2019). This will possibly help avert another government shutdown as well as bring equilibrium between the Republicans and Democrats.

Finally, since its conception, the Trump wall has been highly politicised and this has brought with it serious consequences. Among those is the recent government shutdown, which lasted 35 days. Border security is an ever-impending risk factor for the US as they continuously invest in migration control and the hunt and deportation of illegal immigrants. Without proper border security, the country is under threat of infiltration by criminals such as drug lords as well as terrorists.


Overall, with that in mind, building a border wall could help minimise the number of illegal immigrants getting into the US through the Mexican border as well as assist in the inspection of those legally entering the US. Therefore, what needs to be done is having a political understanding between the Republicans and Democrats especially in budgetary allocations towards the construction of the wall.


AFP. (2010, January 12). The US, Mexico open first new border crossing in 10 years. Retrieved from

Aljazeera. (2019, January 26). US gov't shutdown: How long? Who is affected? Why did it begin? Retrieved from

Collins, K., Liptak, K., Barrett, T., & Jim Acosta and Jeremy Diamond. (2019, February 15). Trump will sign a bill to avoid a shutdown, then declare a national emergency to free billions for the border wall, official says. Retrieved from

Loiaconi, S. (2015, August 19). Experts: Trump border wall could be costly, ineffective. Retrieved from

National Research Council. (2013). Options for Estimating Illegal Entries at the U.S. - Mexico Border. Washington D.C: National Academy of Science Press.

Stewart, E. (2019, January 23). The shutdown's effect on the US economy explained. Retrieved from

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