Much has been made of the monetary expense of PresidentDonald Trumps proposed perimeter wall. Trump himself has cited wildly differingestimates. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell( R-Ky .) recently said that the wall would cost $12 billion to $15 billion. Some experts have quoted numbers far higher.
But the walls true expense outstrips even the biggest numbers being discussed. Theres upkeep, of course hundreds of millions of dollars per year will be needed to maintain the 1,000 -mile barrier. There are other expenses, too, some of them intangible and difficult to quantify.
The political blowback could be significant. Mexican President Enrique Pea Nieto has already canceled a session with Trump over the wall, calling it a sign of disrespect.( Mexico is Americas third-largest trading partner and a close ally .) And the impacts on native tribes, border communities and migrant populations are projected to be immense.
Then, theres the potential damage caused to the environment, both locally and beyond. Environmentalists say the wall is beneficial to climate change, disrupt natural water flows and profoundly affect native species and habitats.
Let me be blunt there are no the advantage of a border wall, and many risks, Dan Millis, a coordinator of the Sierra Clubs borderlands program, told HuffPost in an email this month.
We dont simply have concerns about the border wall, we have impacts, Millis said. Thats because there are already walls and roadblocks along more than 650 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border . Existing fences have not served their intended purpose, he said, but have already expense taxpayers billions of dollars, and have resulted in a wide array of unintended and damaging outcomes.
Research suggests the existing barriers have not been effectiveat restricting the movement of people. Areportreleased this week by the Government Accountability Office found that border fencing was violated more than 9,200 times from 2010 to 2015. The hurdles, however, have proven to be a formidable foe to migrating animals.
A 2014 study found that security roadblocks on the Arizona-Mexico border were doing little to prevent crossings by humans, but were limiting the movements of native species like puma and coatis, a raccoon-like being, thus limiting their access to food, water and habitat.
There was no significant difference in the number of migrants present in areas where there was a wall, compared to areas where there was no wall, Jamie McCallum, the lead author of the study, told HuffPost in interview last year. In other words, the wall did not seem to be doing the job it was intended for.
The hurdles, however, could be driving some native species to a possible collapse in population, the study said.