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Published On: Mon, Aug 26th, 2019

The US/Mexico Border Wall: Where we stand

There are a lot of words that the media synonymises with US President Donald Trump. One of the most famous is “wall,” immortalised in such rally chants as, “Build the wall! Build the wall!” The wall in question is known by many as “Trump’s wall,” the one which formed the cornerstone of his election promises, the one he promised to build along the border between the United States and Mexico, designed to keep out undocumented Mexican migrants and, lest we forget, for which Mexico would purportedly pay. While that last part seemed to have gone out the window when Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted that Mexico would never pay for a wall, “Not now, not ever,” the concept of the wall is still on the mind of many people around the world. This Vestle News article will focus on Trump’s border wall, where it stands and what we can expect.*

But first, some facts and figures about the wall so you can better understand the scope of the project. First of all, there are some wall-ish structures already in place, spanning such areas as border crossings. So this wall, THE WALL in question, would need to cover the remaining 1,300 miles of the border. The estimated cost for this: $20 million per mile, putting the total cost of the wall at somewhere near $45 billion, notwithstanding extras like private land acquisitions and fence maintenance. 

mexico flag on broken brick wall and half usa united states of america flag

photo license via Adobe

It’s not like he hasn’t tried…

As far as tenacity is considered, you’ve got to hand it to Trump; the man has certainly tried. In January 2017, just weeks after his inauguration, Trump signed Executive Order 13767 which formally directed the US government to begin attempting wall construction using existing federal funding. Then there was the partial US government shut down that lasted over a month between December, 2018 and January, 2019, as a result of Trump’s vetoing of any spending bill that did not include $5 billion toward the border wall. Then in February 2019, he came forward with a Declaration of National Emergency, condemning the border situation as a crisis, but which was overturned by congress (and later re-overturned by Trump). Finally, in July of 2019, the US Supreme Court approved $2.5 billion in funds to construct the wall.

Is it actually being built?

It depends on who you ask. If you were to ask the agency in charge, that being US Customs and Border Protection, the answer would be no. Although they would tell you they’ve begun to replace old fencing, a shiny new fence does not a border wall make. However, a group of private citizens called We Build the Wall has indeed constructed almost three-fourths of a mile-long wall along a stretch of border that traverses private property near El Paso, Texas.**

But it’s not just money that’s slowing up the wall. There are a variety of socio-economic, political, even environmental issues that stand in the way of such a bold border, raising many questions—some of which are echoing during the Brexit debate in the UK in the weeks before the next big deadline of 31st October. On a recent visit to Ireland, Trump met with Irish premier Leo Varadkar and the two discussed the status of the Ireland/Northern Ireland border post-Brexit. Trump expressed his confidence that Brexit would be good for Ireland, and that regarding the border things will work out. He went on to compare the volatility of the Irish border with his own border situation back home, but the similarities ended there as he assured Varadkar that it was possible to keep the Irish border open.***

Is the wall affecting the economy?

Ah, a valid question for such a Vestle News article. The quickest answer would be to say no, as there is, technically, no wall or even a plan in place for a wall to affect any kind of economic change so directly. But slowing American economic growth caused by Trump’s trade battles, among other policies, have caused a stirring among the Federal Reserve. In early June, Jerome H. Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, stepped up to the plate and announced that policymakers were ready to help prop up the economy, should increasing risks from trade battles like the US/China trade war and slowing economic growth have a hit. Fed officials even agreed to leave rates unchanged when a US/China solution seemed imminent.

Then in early May, the financial markets hit two bumps in the road. The first came when Trump hit out at China, raising tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods (prompting China to immediately retaliate with its own higher tariffs), followed by Trump’s further threat to impose tariffs up to 25% on Mexican imports, but which was mitigated when the Mexican government agreed to help control illegal immigration into the US.****

So while the wall can’t yet claim any financial causalities of its own, it sure has the attention of everybody who is anybody in the financial world, like the US Federal Reserve, making it a situation certainly worth watching. Stay tuned to sites like Vestle News to keep informed of such important events that may end up playing out on the world’s financial markets. 

Author: Lee Sadawski

The materials contained on this document have been created in cooperation with Vestle and should not in any way be construed, either explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, as investment advice, recommendation or suggestion of an investment strategy with respect to a financial instrument, in any manner whatsoever. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 83.7% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Full disclaimer: https://www.vestle.com/legal/analysis-disclaimer.html

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