On July 11th, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lambasted the United States government and Mexico for their immigration and trade policies, accusing the latter of intentionally sending criminals — including drug dealers, murderers, and rapists — across the border to “wreak havoc on our population.”
The Associated Press reports that the billionaire real estate mogul and television personality spoke in front of a libertarian gathering known as FreedomFest in Las Vegas. Gathered inside the Planet Hollywood ballroom on the Las Vegas Strip, the audience watched Trump deliver excoriating indictments against Mexico, accusing its government of “killing us at the border and…killing us on trade.”
Though he claims that he “respect[s] Mexico greatly as a country,” Trump repeated his earlier charges that Mexico was bringing its “worst” to the U.S. and it was openly flouting American law.
“The problem we have is their leaders are much sharper than ours,” he said.
In order to confront illegal immigration, Trump proposed to build a fence across the entire U.S.-Mexican border, something that made the audience groan. And according to azcentral.com, he reiterated in a speech he delivered in Phoenix later that day his desire to build a barrier along the 2,000 mile border.
“I would build a great wall. And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me,” he said. “And I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
He did not address how he would compel the Mexican government to pay for the wall or, barring that, how he would produce enough funding to complete such a project, which would rival the Great Wall of China it its length and scope.
The figures are staggering. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection spent approximately $2.4 billion between 2006 and 2009 on building 670 miles of border fence, which has largely been ineffective in keeping undocumented aliens out.
Still, the demand for fencing remains strong in the U.S. By 2018, the fencing industry is predicted to expand by 7% annually, to garner $9 billion in revenue, and to build a total of 875 million linear feet in fencing.