The Cost of a Wall

Remember that time when 800,000 federal workers went without pay and thus money for food and heat during one of the coldest winter weather events in recent memory and it all seemed to be over a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico?

You might be asking, what happened to that wall?

Last night Congress released a 1,000+ page piece of legislation that might temporarily settle that question. Here’s what you need to know per the Washington Post:

$1.375 billion for new fences along the Texas border versus $5.7 billion for 234 miles of steel walls

$49 billion for the Department of Homeland Security versus $47.7 billion appropriated in 2018

$23 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection

$324 billion total price tag

The legislation doesn’t settle everything. The U.S. has been mired in conflict over immigration since well before the 2016 elections. The number of resettled refugees is at a historic low point, immigration judges and courts are overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of cases waiting to be heard, and millions of foreign-born people are confused about how they can remain in the U.S. lawfully. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people who have been in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status are on the verge of being forced to return home or remain here undocumented. Their children will be caught in limbo as they are U.S. Citizens.

Unfortunately for $324 billion, we will not resolve these issues. Perhaps the 2020 election will, but we hope the solution is less expensive and more humane. In the meantime, we’ll see if President Trump signs the current deal and averts another government shutdown on Friday.