Trump said he wants to build in 2019 not a full-length wall, but merely 230 miles of wall, costing $5.7 billion dollars in the 2019 budget. That’s about right, about $25 million per mile. A group of MIT engineers estimated a cost of 27 to 40 million per mile, but that was based on his previous prototypes, which were before the new steel slat design.
So Trump is willing to trade DACA and TPS for only 230 miles of wall material which is probably sorely needed (I would have to hear from the DHS experts to change that “probably” to “definitely” or “definitely not.”) Remember the photographer who shot the entire length of the wall found areas where there was nothing at all to prevent people from simply walking in. Trump may well be right in saying we really do need another 230 miles of barriers.
Note that Trump’s proposal is just that – a proposal. An offer. A negotiation. If the Democrats really want to negotiate in good faith, in my opinion, they should submit a counter-proposal to show the American public exactly where the two sides disagree. If I were in their shoes, the first thing I would demand would be a permanent DACA solution, not a delaying action that will create this same crisis again in three years. That is management by procrastination.
The Dems could really declare a win if they agree to Trump’s deal (with DACA made permanent) by taking control of the narrative and saying – “We did not fund a border wall across the southern border. We only funded 230 miles of barriers in areas that are basically unprotected today.” That would be a major victory over Trump, whose base was expecting a shiny new wall from sea to shining sea, all paid for by Mexico.
And, of course, it would also get the government open again, and government families would again be able to pay their bills.