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

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta is "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi with life-threatening storm surge, high winds, and heavy rain," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts after making landfall on the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm earlier Wednesday.

Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by Republicans to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.