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The issue

President Trump unveiled today an executive action to get to work on his wall on our border with Mexico.

The facts

Trump wants a 1,000 mile wall, constructed of concrete and steel, between 35-60 feet high. The other 1,000 miles of the border won't need a wall because of natural obstacles, including mountains and deserts. Trump says the wall will cost $8-12 billion, but the MIT Technology Review took a more critical look and predicts between $27-40 billion.

There's already about 650 miles of fencing on the border, courtesy of a 2006 law signed by George W. Bush. The effort focused on high traffic areas for border crossings of illegal immigrants and drugs, and cost a little less than $3 billion. Previous attempts to build a bigger wall or install more high fencing stalled in Congress.

Expand chart
Data: OpenStreetMap; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

What's next: Trump plans to have Congress pay for the first part of the wall using that 2006 law. He claims he'll get Mexico to pay us back using NAFTA re-negotiations and by potentially freezing remittances from Mexican nationals in the United States. Mexico says that won't happen.

Go deeper

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.

Climate reckoning for oil and gas CEOs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Top executives from ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Shell will face a reckoning on Capitol Hill Thursday, as they're grilled on evidence that their companies knew for years that their products were driving climate change but chose to downplay or deny it.

Why it matters: The hearing before the House Oversight Committee will be the first time these executives have been brought together to provide sworn testimony regarding what they knew about the ties between their company's products and climate change, and when they knew it.