Building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border was Donald Trump’s premier campaign promise, and he is running out of chances to keep it.

Trump has been president for nearly a year and a half, and has not yet won anywhere near the funding needed to build the wall. Now, there have been two Republican immigration bills in the House, each calling for around $25 billion for the wall, and Trump has blown them both off, saying he’d rather try again after November’s midterm elections.

“Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solve this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!”

Now, it is entirely possible Republicans will keep control of the House and Senate. It’s also possible they will lose. But does anyone believe the GOP will gain enough seats to pass difficult legislation without somehow settling their internal disputes? Unlikely.

And of course Democrats are playing games with immigration. They still will be after the election, no matter what happens.

The point is, a president only gets so many chances to do something, and when it comes to the wall, Trump is running out of time.

The promise was not a wall along the entire 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. Trump said on many occasions that a wall was not needed along the entire stretch of sometimes-impassable land. About 1,000 miles would do the job well.

The odds were probably always against Trump on the wall. Everyone knew Democrats would throw their bodies in front of any wall effort, do anything to stop it. And even if Trump got a wall appropriation through Congress, the politically motivated litigation designed to stop and slow the wall would be fearsome.

The only way a wall will ever happen is with determined presidential leadership. Yes, Congress has supported extensive border barriers in the past — look up the Secure Fence Act of 2006 — but the political system has never wanted to actually do it. Actually building a wall would take a president who will not give up and not settle for anything less than what he promised.

Trump made it to 2018 with a real chance to get wall funding. His maneuvers on DACA set up a simple and obvious deal: legalization of DACA recipients in exchange for money for the wall.

That money, by the way, had to be real money. It couldn’t be just a down payment, or a promise to come up with real cash later. It had to be real live, appropriated, placed in a trust fund, ready for the president to use to construct a wall.

But Trump and Republicans in Congress always threw other issues into the mix. Chain migration. The visa lottery. Guest workers. Now, the hot issue of the moment is family separation.

The simple clarity of the president’s promise to build the wall was lost. But it will not be lost on his voters. Can Trump run for re-election in 2020 by promising to build a wall in his second term, coming up with some excuse for not doing it in his first?

He can certainly try, but even his supporters might not buy it.

Byron York is a nationally syndicated columnist.

(68) comments

Carlos Ponce

Wall construction has already started.

Emile Pope

The wall construction has not started. Wasn’t Mexico supposed to pay for it?

Carlos Ponce

Patience, Emile, patience. Mexico will pay for it. And the wall is already being built.

Jim Forsythe

Trump will not be in office long enough to see the wall finished, even if he gets reelected. The time required to procure the land rights (eminent domain), will drag on in the courts for years.
The Department of Homeland Security will replace 47 miles of “dilapidated border fencing with new border wall system in various locations along the southwest border.” Also in the Rio Grande Valley, it plans to build 25 miles of new levee wall in Hidalgo County, and eight miles of “new border wall system” in Starr County, Texas. All of that is made possible by funding in the 2018 spending bill, he said.
The president would ultimately like to have 1,000 miles of barrier,and there is currently 654 miles of fencing. the funding bill leaves the president well short of his goal.
Although Trump had asked for $25 billion for wall construction, the bipartisan spending bill provides what Trump called only an “initial down payment” of $1.6 billion in funding.
Here’s what that $1.6 billion is for :
$251 million for “secondary fencing” near San Diego.
$445 million for “primary pedestrian levee fencing” in the Rio Grande Valley.
$196 million for “primary pedestrian fencing” in the Rio Grande Valley.
$445 million for replacement of primary pedestrian fencing.
$38 million for border barrier planning and design.
$196 million for border security technology.
That comes to less than 40 miles of new barrier where there wasn’t any before.
Most of the new barrier will replace old or ineffective fencing.
The bill further states that the money can only be used to build “operationally effective designs deployed as of the date of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, [May 5, 2017] such as currently deployed steel bollard designs, that prioritize agent safety.”. The language in the omnibus bill precludes funding for any of eight wall prototypes designs Trump wanted..


Carlos Ponce

"The time required to procure the land rights (eminent domain), will drag on in the courts for years."
Rights to much of the land where the wall be built has already been secured through the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Obama stopped construction. Trump has a knack for getting construction jobs done on time. And if not within his 2 term tenure, so what? The wall will still be built where the Border agents want it.

Jim Forsythe

To build the "WALL" land must be acquired. The land the Government tried to acquired during Bushes time , some is not paid for, and some is still tied up in court.Of the roughly 400 condemnation cases stemming from the Bush era, about 90 remain open a decade later. Of the fencing built in 2007, If it had built today, acquiring land would have added roughly $800,000 to the cost for every mile, according to a GAO report. Today, some of the largest stretches of open border are in Texas, where much of the land is privately owned.
"Over half of the 2,000-mile border between Mexico and the US sits in Texas, where hundreds of miles of land remains unrestricted by a wall, according to USA Today's investigation. This area includes nearly 5,000 parcels of property in a wall's likely path — which could prompt court battles between the US government and private landowners."
Indeed, the report outlined issues experienced by Texas landowners who had had their land acquired by the government for border barriers currently in place – and were still waiting for compensation for the land almost a decade on.
As well as outlining problems for those landowners, the report suggested “Complications with previous fence deployment efforts, and planned staffing increases at the Department of Justice and CBP illustrate a point that DHS itself has made: ‘Real estate acquisition for border fence construction is a very complex issue, particularly in Texas.’”
"Here we are in a decade and the judge still has eminent-domain cases pending in his court," Terence Garrett, the chair of the public affairs and security studies department at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, told USA Today. "It's really a thicket, if you will, of all kinds of legal problems. We are looking at years — decades — of court cases."
Garrett estimated that only 20% of landowners would accept the federal government's offer to use their land.
The last wave of eminent domain cases over properties along the southern border dates to the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which authorized President George W. Bush to erect 700 miles of fencing. Of the roughly 400 condemnation cases stemming from the Bush era, about 90 remain open a decade later, according to the Justice Department. Nearly all are in the Rio Grande Valley in southwest Texas.

Carlos Ponce

The Right of Imminent Domain tells us how any land in litigation will turn out. BUILD THE WALL!

Gary Scoggin

"The Right of Imminent Domain tells us how any land in litigation will turn out. BUILD THE WALL!"

Are the landholders entitled to due process or do we just seize their land? Imminent Domain includes a process for making sure land owners are fairly compensated. But why bother with constitutional rights and other legal niceties, right?

Carlos Ponce

Last clause of the Fifth Amendment:
"nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
The Constitution says the government may do it. The only litigation is how much money they get.

Gary Scoggin

But the governement can't take posession until the process is completed.

Carlos Ponce

Let's see. It's been 12 years since the process began. 'bout time they settled on a price.

Carlos Ponce

BROWNSVILLE – The government is looking for Cameron County property owners that may still be entitled to money from the land they had to give up through eminent domain.
The government acquired many people's or their family members’ land in 2008 to build the border wall.A notice of condemnation was issued in a local newspaper. It listed all the people that potentially may be able to claim compensation.
Brownsville resident Fernando Champion is one of the dozens listed. His grandmother owned some land located off Highway 28, not far from the Rio Grande.
The land now belongs to the government. The border wall runs right through the fields the Champion family once farmed.
http://www.krgv.com/story/35793062/government-seeks-to-pay-property-owners-who-lost-land-to-border-wall
"The land now belongs to the government."

Emile Pope

Eminent domain...

Robert Braeking

Byron, hire a team of lawyers and read the bill. The appropriation for the wall in this bill is peppered with unwanted clauses that make it unworkable.

Diane Turski

Trump's actual promise was that Mexico would pay for his wall! I guess you conveniently forgot that important detail in your fervor to blame the Dems for not funding his wall!

Randy Chapman

The United States may bank the loan to build the wall, but Mexico will pay the note over time by loss of money from us.

Gary Scoggin

I'm sure that's exactly what Candidate Trump and his supporters had in mind when he made that statement. ;-)

Gary Scoggin

Mexico called. The check is in the mail.

Gary Miller

Comprehencive is the deal killer. Take all the parts and put them up for vote as individual stand alone bills. Opponents keep adding things they know will kill the bill.

George Croix

So many people living in houses with no doors or locks...wide open...come on in one and all.
Must be, since they don't want any border controls.
Monkey see, monkey no do.....

Gary Scoggin

There is a big diffference between expressing technical and financial concerns regarding the wall and advocating for wide-open borders.

George Croix

Is there a difference, from a practical standpoint?
Tell that to the loudest voices in 'resistance' opposition, and see how many degrees of separation the two are in their minds....if they can find them, so many having lost them...[whistling]

Gary Scoggin

I’m for physically protecting the border, especially in the context of a good immigration policy. This could be a combination of fence, physical wall and virtual wall. I have no doubt a full, physical wall will cost way north of $25 billion. Land acquisition will take years. Environmental clearances won’t be easy unless Congress changes the laws (doubtful). I’m just trying to be practical here. It doesn’t mean I want a wide, open border. As far as the “loudest” voices, I don’t listen to them on either side. They generally don’t know what they are talking about and you can’t reason with them. I prefer rational discussions with the reasonable middle. Around here that’s just you and me most of the time. 😁

George Croix

ps:
Financial?
You can find figures of anywhere from 60 to 100 plus Billions of dollars (with a B) that illegal immigration costs the USA yearly (and, in fairness, there are a few claims by advocates for illegal entry that it's a net GAIN of money...sure it is....).
A 25 billion dollar wall, even if it cost double that, 50 Billion, would pay for ITSELF in very little time. And stopping all...all...foreign aid to all Central American countries that have been exporting their population here, until every dime of the costs is recouped, would be the cherry on the sundae.
imo
Technical?
Declare illegal immigration a National Security Emergency, which it is, and problems deemed unsolvable will be solved, at an expedited pace, just as they have in the past when our country was threatened.
Just takes the will, and moving all the yammering lunatics out of the way...
OR, just ship all the illegals to New York and California, where they are very welcome, so say their Governors....and wall off THOSE two 'foreign countries'...
[beam][beam][beam][rolleyes][innocent]

Emile Pope

What a bunch or garbage. Please explain how illegal immigration costs that much or provide proof...

Carlos Ponce

Math lesson time.
"Total Governmental Expenditures on Illegal Aliens = $134,863,455,364"
"Total Tax Contributions by Illegal Aliens = $18,968,857,700"
"Total Fiscal Burden of Illegal Aliens on U.S. Taxpayers:$115,894,597,664"
https://www.fairus.org/sites/default/files/2017-09/Fiscal-Burden-of-Illegal-Immigration-2017.pdf
Read the report.

Emile Pope

Garbage. A right wing blog has as much credibility as tarot cards...

Emile Pope

Everything is estimated. Which is their way of saying there is no proof...

Carlos Ponce

That's the problem, Emile, you demand proof. When it is presented you call it garbage.
"FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, is a non-partisan, public interest organization of concerned Americans, united in the belief that our immigration policies and laws should again serve the nation’s future needs. This means better border management, lower levels of overall immigration, and a greater focus on highly skilled immigrants.
With a support base comprising nearly 50 private foundations and over 1.9 million diverse members and supporters, FAIR is free of party loyalties and special interest connections."

Emile Pope

Non-partisan? perhaps you didn't read their opinions and articles. They are anti-immigration to say the least.

Carlos Ponce

Not anti-immigrant, Emile. I've read their position and it has merit. Immigration would allow in those individuals whose job skills are needed. That makes sense. Think of a professional sports team. Do they allow just anyone on the team? No. Only those who can fill needed positions.

Emile Pope

America is not a team. And America was not designed around what immigrants have to offer it. Remember the statue of liberty?

Carlos Ponce

AMERICA IS A TEAM. E PLURIBUS UNUM is the motto of the United States. It means out of many - ONE.
Statue of Liberty is a nice statue, a gift from France. The poem on the base constructed for the statue (Give me your tired...) is just a poem. It was NEVER American policy, it was NEVER American Law. Just look at what happened at next door Ellis Island - MANY WERE TURNED BACK, especially criminals, people with disease or mental problems. Same thing happened at the Pelican Island Quarantine Station - MANY WERE TURNED BACK. At Ellis Island alone, 1000 people were denied entry per month.
I suggest you study the following link:
http://www.bringinghistoryhome.org/assets/bringinghistoryhome/2nd-grade/unit-2/EllisIsland_14.htm

Emile Pope

They didn't take their children from them...

Carlos Ponce

Emile posts, "They didn't take their children from them..."
They were given the option of returning with children back to their home country or leaving their children with other relatives.
What does Emile want? If the accompanying adult is not their real parent , Emile would blame Trump.
If the parent harms the child despite warnings this might happen - Emile would blame Trump.
If the adult is a criminal does Emile want parent and child still kept together?
Those are the only reasons for separating "parent" from child.

Carlos Ponce

Emile posts, "They didn't take their children from them..."
May I suggest the video "Forgotten Ellis Island" a PBS video narrated by Elliot Gould which talks about families separated at Ellis Island.
http://www.pbs.org/program/forgotten-ellis-island/
Note you will need a KUHT TV 8 Passport to view online or wait for it to re-appear on television.

Carlos Ponce

Emile, that is almost 116 BILLION DOLLARS.

George Croix

Stop being a troll, Emile.
NOTHING is 'proof' to you, yet you yourself never even make the attempt.
Just think that it 'might' be right, and it'll fit right in.....

Emile Pope

Wrong. Their children were taken first and they still haven't been able to locate most of them. So holding their children hostage to force them to withdraw their request for asylum is appropriate? Only never...even the Nazis didn't do that.

George Croix

No, the Nazis KILLED the children and their parents.
Really, where do you 'resistance' guys GET these insane 'comparisons', and 'equivallencies'....
Don't you care how utterly idiotoc such a comparison is? Evidently, not, since the 'resistance' is tossing 'Nazi' around like beads at a Mardi Gras parade....

Carlos Ponce

"Their children were taken first and they still haven't been able to locate most of them."
On the news I heard where mothers TALK to their children in a different facility via cell phone.
Illegals have been provided cell phones since 2016 to converse with separated children. A Galaxy G4 smartphone is provided.
ET could phone home, children of detained mothers can call mom too. Too young? Mothers are given the phone numbers where their children are located but limited to no more than 20 minutes.
Yaneth Guevara Leyva, an asylum seeker, said to the Times that she is happy to have gotten a Galaxy 4 smartphone that also gives her access to Internet service.
"They told me I was selected because I have small children and for my case, because I was a victim of domestic violence," Yaneth Guevara Leyva said.
Problem is many are told by others NOT to take the cell phones - they are told the US government can use them to monitor their movements and conversations.
Once again, the problem is not with the US government but with the detained parent.

George Croix

The beauty of it is, every single word in this video is straight out of the mouths of the 'resistance'.....
Totally bad manure nuts.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFRHX6glTSM

George Croix

Bad?
Bat....
Same difference for this subject....

Emile Pope

You heard??!!! Well that's good enough for me. You sound like trump with that "I heard"...

Carlos Ponce

Emile, You're such an Emile. [beam]

Mike Zeller


"Tear down this wall!" Ronald Reagan

Carlos Ponce

Mike, the Berlin wall was built to keep people in. The US Border Wall is to prevent illegal immigration into this country. HUGE difference. The wall has a portal to allow people to enter LEGALLY.
The 2006 Roll call vote is interesting with it passing 80-19 in the Senate.
Democrat Yeas from Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton, Diane Feinstein, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Chuck Shumer, etc.

George Croix

The Berlin Wall was erected to keep half the citizens of that city in forced confinement.
The Border Wall would be to keep illegal entrants out of this country.
Note the differences.....

Emile Pope

Trump said that Mexico would pay for it. Apparently he was lying again...

Carlos Ponce

Emile, be patient. All will come to pass.

George Croix

Diamond-like dense.

Gary Miller

Total border control without a wall? Legislate controls? Illegal entry a felony. No employment without E verify. No vote for life by illegal entry. Felony? No limit on holding time regardless of age. Employment? If jobs were illegal for migrants they would not come. Chamber of commerce would have no reason to support illegal immigration. Voting? If illegal migrants could not vote for life Democrats would have no reason to want open borders. If illegal migrants could never vote their American born kids could.

Dan Freeman

Carlos Ponce states: “Just look at what happened at next door Ellis Island - MANY WERE TURNED BACK, especially criminals, people with disease or mental problems. Same thing happened at the Pelican Island Quarantine Station - MANY WERE TURNED BACK. At Ellis Island alone, 1000 people were denied entry per month.” This is misleading, since nearly 12 million were admitted over the 62 years of Ellis Island’s operation. The folks sent home amounted to about 2% of the total. Prior to 1892, immigrants were processed by the state of New York and virtually everyone was admitted.

It is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of all Americans are related to immigrants passing through Ellis Island. Selective immigration did not have a great effect until the Emergency Quota Act of 1921. It was based on the Dillingham Commission which concluded “…immigration from southern and eastern Europe posed a serious threat to American society and culture and should be greatly reduced in the future.” This clearly racist rational is simply immoral. If we want to “Make American Great Again,” we should return to the 19th century open immigration models.

Carlos Ponce

"we should return to the 19th century open immigration models"
Open immigration, another phrase meaning open borders. If you are a member of MS-13, Dan says "open immigration". If you are a drug trafficker -"open immigration". I you traffic in children, child labor, child sex - "open immigration".
Foolhardy.

Gary Scoggin

Open immigration is not the same as open borders.

George Croix

Not to sane people, Gary, but that is not the case with the 'resistance', where only unlimited immigration, legal or not, buy any other name is the goal....they've totally lost it...if they ever had it....imo...
Question:
Why does the USA NEED more people by volume versus by skill and ability to contribute, and too often without a willingness to assimilate??
Is it because we're choosing to kill our own citizens at somewhere around or a bit south of a million a year, and need to replace them?
Are our cheap salads and unwillingness to get sweaty mowing our own yards really worth the ultimate costs of opening the country's borders to mostly illiterate and unskilled people...or worse?
Is it so much better to get paid to sit on one's behind rather than do the work the illegals do?
Is it because so many these days have no concept of what 'government money' is and think it's unlimited?
Do we really think the value of 'diversity' is in random comingling versus sharing productive ideas that bring us together rather than increase our separation?
Anyone?
Anyone?

Carlos Ponce

Gary, to quote Madame Hillary, "what difference does it make?"
19th Century open immigration = let everybody in
Open borders = let everybody in

Gary Scoggin

Carlos. I just double checked. We’re not in the 19th century anymore. I do realize that from reading some of the comments around here, that’s not immediately obvious. 😁

Carlos Ponce

Gary, check out Dan Freeman's post. My post about "open immigration" came as a response to Dan's recommendation that we, "return to the 19th century open immigration models."

George Croix

We have only to look at Europe, and specifically germany, to see what open immigration results in...at least, the unvetted, come one come all type....
Eventually, the bills have to be paid, and the chickens come home to roost....

Jim Forsythe

Why are we using a wall, when much better technology exist. A wall will prevent less than 35% of the people that should not be here from entering the USA.
The CMS report, written by Robert Warren, a former director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service’s statistics division, says 65 percent of net arrivals — those joining the undocumented population — from
\2008 to 2015 were visa overstays.

Carlos Ponce

Trump is going by recommendations from the rank and file Border Patrol agents. A wall for some places, electronic surveillance for others, etc. Visa overstays is not handled by the US Border Patrol but by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Two different agencies often confused.

Jim Forsythe

Unless we get the visa overstayer under control, we will still have a large problem. By using 21st century technology, we can solve the problems. By using a wall, we can only solve 35% of the problem at best and after many, many year's, and at a huge cost.
Border control and visa overstayers are handled by the same agency.
"Department of Homeland Security merged a number of federal law-enforcement agencies with the Border Patrol to create a new combined agency called U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). "
"Known as visa overstays, the visitors present a different challenge than the border crossers, and one that Homeland Security officials are still trying to figure out how to handle.“This report shows that we have a problem with visa overstays in the United States,” a senior administration official said in briefing reporters on the new numbers, vowing to step up enforcement to try to cut down on the violations."

George Croix

Would you turn down 35% interest in your 401K and wait for 100%?[beam][beam]
C'mon.....eliminating 35% of illegal aliens would also eliminate a huge drain on the schools, social services, ERs, maternity wards, etc....that would pay for itself in a year or two tops.

Gary Scoggin

Jim, I agree with George in that you can't let the totality of the problem prevent you from solving pieces of it. People coming across the Southern Border and people overstaying visas are two distinct problems with two distinct solutions. I'm not against a wall in places. But it has to satifsy legal requirements including property rights and environmental concerns.

I do get a kick out of those that take the President literally and advocate this massive wall from San Diego to Brownsville constructed with no due process. And that the immigrants coming across are nothing but MS-13 members and child traffickers instead of people willing to work hard to improve the lives of their families. But accepting that truth makes it harder to hate them. And if you don't hate them you might want to even love them -- in a Christian sort of way -- and next thing you know, you might even feel compassion for them and even want to help them. We can't have that! It might cost us a buck or two. (Actually, another falsehood -- immigration is good for the economy but this forum tends to be a fact-free zone.)

Then you get to the really amusing part. People that buy into the silly notion that when this is all over, Mexico is going to send us a check.

George Croix

"massive wall from San Diego to Brownsville"
You mean it's NOT going to be The Great Wall No. 2??!!!
Well, phooey.....[beam]

Gary, I, personally, don't hate the people entering the country illegally...I hate what they are doing....if they'd follow our laws, enter legally, assimilate, and become citizens, then welcome.
That's not happening. We're being invaded. On the radio today I heard that arrests for illegal entry were down for June to 'only 34,000' from 40,000 in May. ONLY 34,000 people that got CAUGHT, so you can bet at least that many made it in untouched.
So, monthly, or 'six weekly', the population of Texas City or Galveston is entering the country illegaly, and it's a safe bet that many stay...
That's a staggering load to be born by American taxpayers in just the items I mentioned in the previous post....for nothing.
Crime doesn't pay?? It darn sure does for illegal aliens.....
I don't have to hate people to not want them to rob me and make it so my grandkids get less of an education opportunity than they might have gotten if all the funds were used for citizens and legal immigrants.
But, that's just me....
My wife is 25% Hispanic.
I've got skin in the game.....

Gary Scoggin

"Trump is going by recommendations from the rank and file Border Patrol agents..."
Really?.. When he pledged to build a wall it seemed more a campaign promise that would appeal to his supporters. I didn't realize that he had conducted focus groups and had done polling of Border Patrol agents prior to announcing for President. Maybe he should have said so. Or maybe this consultation stuff is just after the fact justification by those who place Trump on par with Jesus in his ability to do no wrong.

Carlos Ponce

Remember Gary, Border Patrol agents had NEVER endorsed a presidential candidate - until Trump. He listened to them pre-election and made promises based on those conversations.
"Border Patrol agents union endorses Trump"
“Mr. Trump will take on special interests and embrace the ideas of rank-and-file Border Patrol agents rather than listening to the management yes-men who say whatever they are programmed to say. This is a refreshing change that we have not seen before — and may never see again,” the National Border Patrol Council said in a statement posted Wednesday on its website. The endorsement was reported by the Government Executive website.
Washington Post March 30, 2016
Cached version:
http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=Border+patrol+endorses+Trump&d=4544085799994373&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=dMiHDVnNt5wSaSeh-xNfVOV5bgY3Y1-2

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