Jan 25, 2017

How Trump will build his Mexican border wall

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.

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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

Humility for forecasters: Jobs shocker is record miss

President Trump speaking in the Rose Garden following the release of the jobs report on May 5, 2020. Photo: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Economists were projecting that May's jobs figures would show a loss of 8 million jobs and an unemployment rate approaching 20% — Great Depression territory.

The state of play: Instead, a record 2.5 million workers were added, and unemployment fell to 13.3% from April's post-World War II high of 14.7%.

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 6,772,361 — Total deaths: 395,703 — Total recoveries — 2,772,730Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 1,898,401 — Total deaths: 109,137 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci: "Very concerned" about spread of coronavirus amid George Floyd protests — Cities offer free coronavirus testing amid protests
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.

Trump's week of viral quicksand

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Stories about President Trump's photo op at St. John's church after peaceful protesters were forcefully cleared from the area averaged the most online attention of any issue about the president this week.

Why it matters: Trump's force-over-compassion approach to the demonstrators protesting the murder of George Floyd had Republican allies backpedaling to keep a distance — and led to a wave of condemnations that got plenty of online traction on their own.