One of the biggest pledges that Donald Trump made during his presidential campaign was to build a wall between Mexico and the US in an attempt to curb illegal immigration into the country. He also claimed that he would get Mexico to pay for this wall.
Despite Mexican officials saying that the country would not cough up the millions required, Trump said it would be done by seizing remittances from undocumented immigrants and increasing the amount charged to Mexicans for entry visas to the US.
The president’s idea to divide the two nations in this way has been met with much criticizm. The wall will stretch a vast 2,000 miles along the Mexican border, and it has been estimated that could cost up to $70 billion to build.
When Trump was inaugurated in January of this year, people around the world began to speculate about whether or not he would make good on promise to build the wall, especially as he had not included its cost in his first spending budget.
In September, Trump released a photograph depicting what his border wall might look like. It included a 150ft-wide “electronically monitored zone”. Mexico did not comment at the time because its government was helping victims of Hurricane Harvey.
But now the first prototypes of the infamous border wall have been built by various contractors from Alabama, Arizona, Texas and Mississippi. They have reportedly cost between $400,000 and $500,000 each.
“These concrete prototypes will serve two important ends,” a CBP spokesperson said.
“First, given their robust physical characteristics, like reinforced concrete, between 18-30 feet high, the concrete border wall prototypes are designed to deter illegal crossings in the area in which they are constructed.”
The prototypes come in various shapes and include features which will seemingly create an “impenetrable” fortress for the US.
“Second, the concrete border wall prototypes will allow CBP to evaluate the potential for new wall and barrier designs that could complement the wall and barrier designs we have used along the border over the last several years.” the CBP spokesperson added.
“As the border security environment continues to evolve, CBP will continually refresh its own inventory of tools to meet that evolution.”
Large construction projects are not without danger, and, as these prototypes were being built, the first border wall accident took place when a construction worker fell down a 40ft hole at its construction site.
A CBP spokesperson said that it was a “misstep”, and the worker did not suffer from serious injuries. However, the accident puts into context the injuries which desperate immigrants could face once the wall is built. Then again, I guess that is just part of the deterrent.
The prototypes are made of either reinforced concrete, or reinforced concrete and additional construction materials. Work began on them on September 26, and it took the chosen companies just under 30 days to complete.
Speaking about the wall, Trump said, “A wall is better than fencing and it’s much more powerful. It’s more secure. It’s taller.”
Whilst it is not known exactly when the wall will be built, initial reactions to the prototypes from Mexicans were sceptical. “People are still going to cross no matter what is there,” said Kevin Ávila Rodríguez. “This won’t change things much.”
Mexican citizens, however, are not the only people who are sceptical about the effectiveness of Trump’s wall.
Thad Bingel, a former senior US Customs and Border Protection official, said, “Every wall can be circumvented. People can go under it, they can go over it. . . . No one should go into this with the idea that if you just build the right kind of wall, no one will get through.”
Here’s a video from earlier this year of Trump trying to talk over the volume of a plane engine whilst responding to questions about amnesty.
Whether you like it or not, Trump’s wall is definitely happening…