Here's what will need to happen before Trump can build his Mexico border wall

Donald Trump will sign executive orders on border wall
(Image credit: Getty Images)

President Trump will sign several immigration-focused executive orders at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday, one of them a down payment on his prominent campaign pledge to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. He had vowed that Mexico would pay for the wall, but since it has refused, he modified that to Mexico will reimburse U.S. taxpayers. Trump plans to shift already allocated DHS funds to start building the wall, probably using authority under the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which allowed the president to build 700 miles of fence; former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama built 652 miles.

Trump needs money and authorization from Congress to build the remaining 1,200 miles along the border, and while Republicans in Congress have signaled their willingness to pony up, a lot will depend on cost. Trump told MSNBC last year he could build his wall for $8 billion, but most estimates put the cost much higher — Border Patrol officials said that the first 652 miles cost $2.3 billion, and not all of that is wall, and the Government Accountability Office puts the price tag for the rest at $6.5 million per mile of single-layer fence plus $4.2 million more per mile for more fencing and roads, not counting maintenance. A study in July from Bernstein Research put the total cost at $15 billion to $25 billion.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.