Contrary to his promises, none of the $15 billion spent on border wall construction was paid by Mexico.
Donald Trump will travel to southern Texas in his final days before leaving office to highlight one of the biggest broken promises of his presidency: his border wall.
"President Trump is expected to travel to Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday to mark the completion of more than 400 miles of border wall — a promise made, promise kept — and his Administration's efforts to reform our broken immigration system," White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in an email Saturday.
But the construction carried out at the border hardly qualifies as a kept promise.
According to the Dallas Morning News, of the 452 miles of wall Trump's administration claims to have "completed," just 12 are along sections of the U.S.-Mexico border that previously had no barriers. The other 440 miles replaced existing fencing.
As a candidate, Trump made the quick construction of the wall his signature campaign promise. "We're going to build a wall and it's going to happen, and it's going to be very easy to do, and it's very inexpensive to do if you know how to do, like I do, you know, build," he told Fox News in February 2016.
He vowed it would be built within two years and cover 1,000 miles.
He also said the entire project would cost just $10 billion and be funded entirely by Mexico — directly, in a lump sum.
"The wall will cost $10 billion. Expensive wall. A Trump wall. Bring it in under budget, ahead of schedule," he told supporters in Maine in March 2016. "I have to name it after myself because maybe, you know, should I name it after myself? I don't think so. We want more than a wall. We will have a real wall, it's going to be a great wall and it's going to work."
"It's going to happen. They know it. I know it. We all know it," he said at a February 2016 rally in Nevada. "We have a tremendous deficit, we have a trade deficit with Mexico, they'll pay for the wall, they'll be very happy about it. I'll talk to them. They're going to be thrilled to be paying for the wall."
The real cost so far has been $15 billion. Mexico has not contributed a penny.
After Mexico's government refused to comply with Trump's campaign promise, he instead demanded that Congress fund the project using taxpayer funds. When even Republican congressional majorities refused, he forced the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history in December 2018 in a failed attempt to force their hands.
Ultimately, Trump simply siphoned most of the money from funds allocated to military families and construction, claiming he was doing so under "emergency" powers.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to halt construction of the wall when he takes office on Jan. 20. As a candidate, he promised, "There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration, No. 1."
The Washington Post reported last month that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers believes an immediate stop to the project would save Americans about $2.6 billion.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.