Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump had a consistent refrain, “We will build a wall, and Mexico will pay for the wall”. This became more than a campaign promise – it became a rallying cry for Trump supporters and helped to define the outsider’s campaign approach.
Promises are well and good, the question at hand now is, can President Trump deliver on that promise to protect our borders. The other day, newly appointed Homeland Security General John F. Kelly told Fox News that he intends to complete construction of the wall within 2 years – an incredibly ambitious timeframe by any measure.
Financial implications of the construction range from as low as $15 billion to estimates ranging over $25 billion. The Trump administration has floated several policy ideas to fund the construction, most of the ideas centering around a variety of border and importation taxes. An argument can be made that the dollars saved from mitigating illegal immigration can be used to offset the cost of construction. Additionally, campaign documents and comments from Press Secretary Sean Spicer that sat how the administration would pay for the wall.
20 percent tax on imports from Mexico, an increase in visa and border-crossing card fees, or even a lump-sum payment from Mexico of billions of dollars. The latter is perhaps the least likely scenario, considering Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s vow that his country “would not pay” – though the Trump campaign had floated the possibility of threatening to cancel visas and/or restrict wire transfers as leverage.
Republican leaders in the house are attempting to draft a budget called the “triple play”.
“It’s a trifecta: it pays for the wall, it’s good tax policy and there is nothing Mexico can do about it,” Thiessen told Fox News. “Trump wants to encourage exports and discourage imports, and this will force Mexico to pay—if you want to do this without a big diplomatic blow up and actually get the money from Mexico, this is the way to do it.”
Today Republican lawmakers are vocally starting to oppose the building of the wall. Most of the opposition is coming from the senate. Senator John Cornyn R-Texas, Senator John McCain R-Arizona, and Senator Lisa Murkowski R-Alaska have been the most vocal. Their biggest issue? The cost.
“I have concerns about spending un-offset money, which adds to the debt, period,” Cornyn said bluntly when asked about the wall. “I don’t think we’re just going to be able to solve border security with a physical barrier because people can come under, around it and through it.”
The President is lobbying hard on capital hill but it seems most of his opposition is coming from “Never Trump” Republican lawmakers.
Tell us what you think? Should President Trump follow through on his promise to build a wall? Is that the right approach for our country?