Trump Wants $18 Billion For Border Wall, Another $15 Billion For Watchtowers, Cameras, Drones

Just so we’re all on the same page, Donald Trump is never – ever – going to get that border wall.

You know that, right? It’s completely unrealistic.

Everyone told him that and everyone tried to tell his supporters that, but because their news diet consists entirely of Fox and xenophobic fringe blogs, those poor fuckers actually believe that not only is this wall necessary, but it’s also somehow feasible.


Trump clearly knew constructing a Mexican-be-gone wall along the entire southern border was a pipe dream when he took office. He never thought he was actually going to have to try and deliver on that campaign promise which is why, when he spoke to Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto on January 27, he said the following:

But you cannot [tell] the press [you’re not paying for the wall]. The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that. I have to have Mexico pay for the wall – I have to. I have been talking about it for a two-year period.

So, realizing that he was never going to get Congress to fund this thing, he begged Nieto to pay for it and then, when Nieto reminded him how absurd it is for Mexico to fund a wall designed to keep Mexicans out of the United States, Trump begged Nieto to lie to the press.

That was in January. Since then, Trump has variously suggested that Mexico is going to pay for the wall whether they like it or not and when pressed for specifics, he just says something to the effect of “in one way or another.” But again, there is no sense in which Mexico is going to pay for it. Not in “one way” and not in “another” either.

Meanwhile, Trump has thrown out all kinds of ridiculous ideas for how this monument to bigotry should be constructed including, but by no means limited to, the idea that it could be built out of solar panels and the notion that it should be “see-through” in order to ensure that U.S. border patrol agents aren’t killed by flying, “60-pound sacks of stuff“.

To a certain extent, it feels like lawmakers have just sort of allowed him to persist in this fantasy in order to placate him. Trump even got to build 8 prototypes in the San Diego desert – it’s like handing a child some blocks to keep him occupied when he starts begging for something you know you can’t give him. Here’s the current state of “the wall”:


That’s it. That’s all there is to show for the “big beautiful wall” after a year in office.

And that’s just fine, because this is an enormous waste of taxpayer money. The idea that taxpayers would fund this thing as opposed to Congress using that money to, I don’t know, improve the rail system, or improve inner city schools, is so ridiculous that it boggles the mind.

Well on Friday, we learn that Trump is asking for $18 billion in order to construct some 700 miles of what the Wall Street Journal describes as “new and replacement barriers” along the border. Here’s the Journal:

The request, if granted, would be a major expansion from the 654 miles of barrier now, bringing the total to nearly 1,000 miles–about half of the entire southwest border.

The plans are laid out in a document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for a group of senators who asked the administration to detail its request for border security. The document was described to The Wall Street Journal by two people who had seen it.

In total, the administration details about $33 billion in desired new border-security spending, including funding for technology, personnel and roads. The document refers to this as “critical physical border security requirements.”


If carried out as described, by 2027, about 970 miles of the 2,000-mile southwest border would have some sort of fencing or wall separating the U.S. from Mexico.

Yes, “if carried out as described,” taxpayers are going to end up forking over $18 billion for concrete slabs we most assuredly do not need and another $15 billion for “technology”, some more border agents, and roads for those agents to drive on. More specifically, here’s what the extra $15 billion will go towards:

The non-wall requests include $5.7 billion over five years for towers, surveillance equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles and other technology; $1 billion over five years for road construction and maintenance; and $8.5 billion over seven years for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and other personnel.

So he wants to build a literal concrete wall complete with watchtowers, cameras, and actual drones. Let that sink in.

It’s a good thing that has absolutely no chance of being “carried out as described” because that sounds like the most frivolous use of taxpayer dollars imaginable.

And on the off chance even part of this edifice to insanity does get built, the next time you read about an Amtrak derailment or about how Baltimore school children are literally freezing, remember that we spent $18 billion on a glorified fence.

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