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U.S. Border Wall FAQ
written by: admin

Date Written: 10/31/21 Last Updated: 5/17/24


  1. How long is the U.S. Mexico border? The U.S. border with Mexico border is 1,954 miles long. ref

  2. When did work on the Trump version of the border wall begin? June 1, 2018. ref

  3. What type of wall is being built and how is this different from what we already have? The wall that is being built is of a bollard type that is 18 to 30 feet tall depending on the need.

    The bollard style wall is made up of vertical steel beams that are filled with steel and hardened concrete that allows border patrol agents to be able to see the adversary to the south.  Below ground the wall is embedded 6 to 12 feet deep into the ground and is 2 to 4 feet thick video ref, ref2.  The top of the wall has a 5 foot tall anti-climb steel plate to make it more difficult to climb over ref.  Where needed there is a secondary border wall.

    The design for this border wall has been carefully designed by many anti-climb experts and U.S. border patrol agents as to what would be most effective at stopping illegal border crossings and it was determined that a bollard style fence would be more expensive, but much more effective than a solid concrete wall that was originally envisioned by President Trump. youtube

    • Note: The El Centro Sector appears to have a different sort of anti-climb deterrent and does not have the anti-climb plate. ref.  The design will differ a little based on the region. video ref

    The new border wall being built is far more effective than anything that was there before which, in many, if not most places, could easily be stepped over or picked up and moved to be driven through.

  4. What is the wall replacing? The wall is replacing very old and easily bypassed walls that can be walked around, through, stepped over, or picked up and moved. ref, video, image, video2

  5. How is the wall effective? The new border wall greatly decreases the time it takes to climb over or cut through compared to the old wall, allowing Custom Border Patrol (CBP) agents to stop and quickly apprehend the illegal aliens. 10/25/19 video, 10/26/20 video

  6. How effective is the border wall on illegal crossings? Numbers are little challenging here due to increases and decreases in the number of attempts at a given location at any given day.  The general consensus appears to be a decrease of around 90% where there is the Trump border wall. ref, ref2, 80% at 20 mile section in El Paso Texas ref3, DHS ref

  7. Who came up with the design for the Trump Wall? This was designed by CBP and others to be as effective as possible.  10/26/20 video.  The design may differ a little based on the region. video ref

  8. Aren't there countless ways to bypass the wall? Yes, but this in no way diminishes the importance of an effective border wall to decrease illegal crossings and attempts to cross by 80% or more. ref

    An effective border is composed of:

    • CBP agents
    • an effective wall in the Trump style
    • effective and accessible means of legal entry
    • good relations with neighboring countries
    • ICE enforcement agents
    • effective deterrents to illegal entry, such as E-verify, alt
    • decreased incentives to enter illegally
    • incentives to enter legally
    • judges to decide applications to legal entry

    In short, we need a holistic approach.

    Democrats strongly oppose all of these things.

  9. Why do we need the wall? A wall has been proven to dramatically decrease, discourage, and stop the trafficking of drugs and humans into our country.  Doing this will also cut crime in our country as well as in other countries that profit from the the very violent drug trade.

  10. What is the purpose of the wall? To deflect traffic to areas of the border where the wall is not present such as ports of entry.

  11. How long will the border wall be? About 700 miles. 9/15/23 Megyn Kelly Interviews Donald Trump

  12. What are the challenges to completing the wall? Presently, President Joe Biden.

  13. What about reports that the new border wall is easily bypassed with a ladder, digging underneath, cutting through, slipping between the beams, or just swimming around? In short, it isn't.

    • Digging underneath: The wall is embedded 6 to 12 feet underground ref, video ref.  To dig underneath takes about a year and a lot of money to complete which gives CBP a lot of time to wait for it to be almost complete before they shut it down. ref

    • Cutting through: The beams are made of steel, rebar, and advanced hardened concrete that when combined is difficult to cut through.  The wall is also wired to detect people so that it is easy to stop them and arrest them.  If a portion is cut through, which takes precious time and tools, the damaged portions are easily replaced ref, ref2, ref3.

    • Climbing over with ladder: At 30 feet tall, it takes time, skill, and bravery to climb over; this gives CBP time to intercept the few illegal immigrants that even try to scale the very high wall. youtube  Note: Video of Trump border wall being "easily" climbed over.  The full video shows him being caught by CBP immediately as he lands.  CBP posted a response.

    • Slipping between the beams: The beams are 6 inches wide and the space between the beams is 4 inches ref.  See magic trick, ref  Update 2/15/23: On 8/2/22 a woman was found stuck between two beams of the bollard wall.  It is unclear if this is part of the Trump wall.  It also appears from the image that the beams of the section she was trying to fit between were spaced a few extra inches apart than the standard 4 inches.ref

    • Swimming around According to CBP, it is extremely dangerous to attempt to swim around even for experienced swimmers.  If you do manage to make it across, your exhausted self will be arrested by CBP. ref

    • Boat or ship? Almost as dangerous as swimming with CBP agents continually patrolling and arresting those that survive. ref

    Even if the wall is bypassed using any of these methods, none of these things negate the orders of magnitude of heightened difficulty that the bollard wall presents to illegal aliens.

  14. I heard that the border wall is being stolen. That would be the razor wire and not the bollard wall.  In fact, the razor wire referred to does not even seem to be related to the bollard wall. ref, ref2

  15. I heard that wind is blowing down sections of the border wall. A section of the wall that was under construction where the concrete had not yet set fell over due to winds gusting up to 30 mph. ref

  16. How much of the wall is being paid for by Mexico? Mexico is paying for the wall indirectly:

    • Mexico militia has significantly reduced the number of illegal immigrants who often approach the southern and northern Mexico borders.
    • With a border wall, the cost to our country in crime, violence, sex trade, and drug trafficking and abuse is significantly diminished.
    • Mexico houses immigrants seeking asylum as they await their court dates.
    • Mexico pays for deportation flights. ref
    • More directly, Trump says Mexico will be paying for the wall through tolls and other means. ref, ref2

  17. I hear a lot about the southern border.  What about the Canadian border? In fiscal year 2020, the number of apprehensions at the Southwest border was 400,651.  At the Northern border it was 2,155. ref

  18. Where are the worst areas for illegal border crossings? The vast majority of illegal crossings is from Rio Grande Valley in Texas. ref.

  19. What makes up the Southwest border? The Southwest border is the entire U.S./Mexico border.  California, Arizona, and New Mexico make up about 692 of the 1,954 miles of the Southern Border. ref

  20. What is the rate of overstayed visas vs illegal border crossings?

    • FY 2019 persons overstaying visas: 1.21% or 676,422 ref.
    • FY 2020 border apprehensions: 402,806 (400,651 from southern border and 2,155 at the northern border). ref
    • FY 2020 deportations: 185,884 ref.

  21. If the majority of illegal immigration is from legal immigrants overstaying their visas, why is there so much focus on the southern border? Border crossers bring the highest numbers of drug trade, sex trade, and human trafficking; among other illicit activity. ref

  22. What is the estimated number of illegal aliens that are not caught by CBP at our Southern Border? An additional 15-20% of the number caught are considered got aways.  This means that if 1,000 are caught, 150 to 200 additional aliens got through undetected. 2/28/21 Video ref  Arizona Representative Andy Biggs (R), who is very focused on the immigration crisis at our southern border predicts 120,000 aliens apprehended each month with 30,000 to 100,000 got-aways. 3/3/21 video ref The number of got-aways is tracked to some degree by CBP, but this information is not public; most likely because the information is not an exact science.

    Lara Logan on 4/1/21 claims that there were 34,000 got-aways during February 2021. There were 100,441 encounters at the southern border that month.

  23. Is it a wall or a fence? It is a wall.  please see this 10/26/20 video describing the difference between what some are calling a wall and others a fence and why CBP calls the Bollard system a wall.

  24. How long does this new wall last? Conservative estimates say 25 to 30 years.  It is also easy to defend; especially against bullets. 10/26/20 Video  The Army Corp of Engineers Pete Pereira says that the wall is designed to last 30 to 50 years. video ref

  25. What is the annual cost of maintaining the wall? Unanswered  Miniscule and utterly infinitesimal compared to having an unsecured border.

  26. What is the cost of the new border wall system? ~$15 Billion has been identified to construct ~738 miles of new border wall system.  The funds are from DHS, DoD, Treasury Forfeiture Fund (TFF).  Funds are used for planning, design, real estate, environmental, construction and oversight activities. ref

  27. How much of the construction is for secondary border wall? Secondary border wall is border wall that is parallel to the primary border wall creating a double wall.  80 miles as of 2/11/21 ref

  28. This sounds like a huge waste of money. The money saved from decreased welfare to illegal aliens, less crime, less drug smuggling, saves far more money annually than the cost of building the wall. ref, ref2

  29. What is the annual cost of illegal immigrants to taxpayers? The cost to taxpayers at the start of 2023 was $150.7 Billion. ref

  30. When will the wall be completed? There have been many roadblocks from activist judges to opposition from congress, but the current plan is to have half of it done by the end of 2020 and the other half done in 2021.  (Note: Biden halted all efforts on the border wall and has been a major advocate of open borders.) Still, many things can happen between now and then.  During the second half of 2020, the wall has been completed at a pace of 10 miles per week. Note: See U.S. Mexico Border Wall Progress for weekly progress until the end of Trump's term in office.  For current border wall efforts, see Texas Border Wall 2021 – 2023

  31. How does the wall stop illegal immigration? Since the wall is extremely difficult to get through, over, or under, illicit traffic has been diverted to other parts of the border that are more easily patrolled.

  32. Why is it being painted? Only certain portions are being painted.  This is to make it easier to detect movement on the other side. ref

  33. This is just like the Berlin wall!  Tear down this wall! The Berlin wall was primarily used to keep citizens from escaping.  The U.S. border wall system is used to keep illegals from entering. ref

  34. What about the butterflies?

    From the CBP FAQ: "To the greatest extent practicable, CBP will incorporate design considerations to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any potential impacts that are found." ref

    Far from harming the environment, the border wall system has helped to protect and defend the environment. ref  The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality estimates each illegal alien leaves about of 6 to 8 pounds of trash.  So, far from destroying the environment, a border wall protects the environment. ref

  35. What about these pictures I see of people easily climbing and sitting on top of the wall? Take a closer look.  Those are pictures of the old useless wall, not the new wall.

  36. What is this I hear about illegal land seizures from indigenous people?  This is regarding eminent domain, the right of the United States to usurp private property for public use, following fair compensation under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

    Note: From what I have found so far, this is all quite legal and I have not found other reports to the contrary.   I will try to expand this section as needed.

  37. What about the 500+ children that were separated at the border by CBP? This is a 2 year old case, as of October 2020, where the court has directed the ACLU to locate the children's parents.  In all of the cases where the parents have been found, NONE of the parents want to be reunited with their children unless it means they get to rejoin them in the U.S.  DHS and HHS have helped where possible.  The courts have determined that the parents did not have a legitimate claim to enter the U.S. video ref

    The children are mostly located in Central America in foster homes or with distant relatives. ref

    Trump did not separate the children from their parents.  Trump was the one that stopped that practice on 6/20/18.  The practice of separating children from parents was due to the expansion of the Flores agreement by activist judges who were favorable to open borders.

    Here is the timeline of events:

    1997: Flores was implemented in 1997 during the Clinton administration as an agreement with immigration activists.

    7/24/15: California District judge Gee rules that the Flores Agreement applies to both unaccompanied minors and accompanied minors and that the minors must be turned over to DHS within the U.S. within 20 days.  This means that minors had to be released while the parents or guardians were still being held pending hearing.

    It is this ruling that led to what is known as "family separation".  This loophole led to the increase in asylum claims by families.  Now, any adult with a child could come to the border, surrender, claim fear and know that they will be released into the U.S. in 20 days.  ref, pdf of ruling

    Catch and release loophole begins

    2016: Ninth Circuit reaffirmed that decision. ref

    4/6/18: Trump implements "Zero Tolerance" in an effort to protect the Southwest border.  The Justice Department then prosecuted every illegal border crossing with the crime of entry without inspection.  Trespassers faced about 6 months in prison for the 1st offence and up to 2 years the second offence.  video ref

    Due to the expansion of the Flores Agreement by activist judges, children and families were required to be separated and released into the U.S. or released into the U.S. with their parents after 20 days and hope that they show up in court later to process their asylum claims.

    6/20/18: Trump signs executive order to detain families together. ref

    6/23/19: Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan announces the end to "Catch and Release" saying that family units would be released back to their country of origin if there was no claim of fear of return or to Mexico if there was a claim of fear of return, but they would no longer be released into the U.S. ref

    Catch and release loophole ends

    2/23/21: President Biden reopens cages for kids that was started under President Obama ref

  38. Is Mexico so dangerous that we need a wall? This is a trick question.  If the answer is yes, then asylum seekers need to immediately be allowed entrance.  If the answer is no, then there is no need for a wall.

    The correct answer is that Mexico is not currently considered dangerous, but could easily be labeled as such with rampant cartels.  The U.S. is protecting itself from the criminal and dangerous element with a border wall system and because Mexico is not officially considered a dangerous nation, asylum seekers are released to Mexico.  If Mexico is considered a terrorist nation then we really do need a border wall system.  Either way, a border wall system is vital.

  39. How many Illegal Aliens currently reside in the U.S.? The number cited for the last 15 years since 2005 by Pew Research has been 11 million

    According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform it is at 14.5 million ref.  A 2018 study by two Yale professors and an MIT instructor has the number at 22.1 million.

    After running 1,000,000 simulations of the model, the researchers’ 95% probability range is 16 million to 29 million, with 22.1 million as the mean. ref1

  40. Where exactly is the new Border Wall positioned/located? Of the 452 miles completed, the border wall is located in the following areas:

    • Arizona: Tucson: 114 miles
    • Arizona: Yuma: 107 miles
    • California: San Diego: 46 miles
    • California: El Centro: 31 miles
    • California: El Paso: 131 miles
    • Texas: Rio Grande Valley (South Texas): 17 miles ref
      • Note: For further border wall progress in Texas after Trump's first term, see: Texas Border Wall

  41. How long is the Texas/Mexico border? 1,254 ref

  42. What is the crime rate from illegal border crossers and visa overstays? Unanswered

  43. What is the annual cost of Illegal Aliens in the U.S.? Around 250+ Billion as of 2018. ref, heritage

  44. How many illegal crossings have occurred under President Biden? As of 12/3/23, about 8 million. ref1 old ref  Under Trump's first term it was just over 2 million. ref

  45. Didn't Republicans vote against border funding? This is referring to the 6/25/19 vote on a border funding bill that was designed to stop work on the border wall and incentivize illegal aliens to enter the U.S.

  46. What has Biden done about the border crisis? Horrible things.  Here is a long chronological list, alt

  47. Without immigrants, who will do the farm work?  This question shows that Democrats still think of immigrants the same way they did in the 1800s regarding slaves.  It is interesting to note that generation after generation, Democrats ideology hasn't and isn't likely to change.

  48. What About the Border Wall Destroyed by Rain? Unanswered ref


  1. Walls don't work! If they don't work leftists wouldn't care so much.  Their real objective is open borders.

  2. If you are against immigration you are racist! Conservatives are for LEGAL immigration and oppose ILLEGAL immigration.  There is a difference.

  3. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

    --Emma Lazarus -- "The New Colossus" 1883

    This needs to be unpacked a little.

    The quote is located at the base of the Statue of Liberty and was written in 1883.  The statue itself was erected within New York Harbor to stand as a beacon of light to France in support of a republican form of government like the United States.

    The poem was added by Georgina Schuyler.  Adding the poem, in effect, changed the meaning of the statue into a beacon of welcome for immigrants fleeing persecution and tyranny seeking a better life. ref

    This poem did not mean that immigrants seeking to come to the U.S. to live off our government or that those desiring to destroy our country were welcome. Heritage.org: Immigrants Should Not Be on Welfare

  4. Building a border wall and limiting immigration shows just how much conservatives hate immigrants!  Quite the opposite!
    Conservatives want immigrants who will contribute to society, not harm themselves and society. ref

  5. People are not illegal! (referring to the term illegal aliens) Alien is someone who is a foreigner or non-citizen.  The alien is entering illegally, therefore they are an illegal alien. ref

See also:


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