What Will Happen to Trump’s Unfinished Border Wall After He’s Out of Office?

What Will Happen to Trump’s Unfinished Border Wall After He’s Out of Office?

Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

By Araceli Cruz

December 9, 2020

The US-Mexico border is 2,000 miles long. Only 415 miles of Trump’s wall have been built.

Before President Donald Trump became president, his campaign platform was all about the border wall. He wanted to build a “big, beautiful wall” and promised that Mexico would pay for it. That was five years ago, and the wall remains unfinished. Mexico didn’t pay one cent of the more than $11 billion the US has already paid. The wall won’t get finished by the time Trump is out of office either, The Washington Post reports. So what will become of the wall that is there?

President-elect Joe Biden isn’t a fan of Trump’s wall, but that doesn’t mean he is backing away from border security. 

“Building a wall from sea-to-shining-sea is not a serious policy solution—it’s a waste of money, and it diverts critical resources away from the real threats,” Biden’s website states. “We need smart, sensible policies that will actually strengthen our ability to catch these real threats by improving screening procedures at our legal ports of entry and investing in new technology.”

RELATED: A Company Favored by Trump Got $1.3 Billion Contract for Border Wall

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows that 415 miles of border construction have been completed. The US-Mexico border is 2,000-miles in length. However, Trump had to scale down his ambitious effort to erect a new wall without funds. During his State of the Union address in February, Trump said that “substantially more than 500 miles” of the border wall would be built by January 2021. That won’t be happening either. 

What Will Happen to Trump's Unfinished Border Wall After He's Out of Office?

“The officials acknowledge that the structure almost certainly will remain incomplete in areas where construction crews do not have time to wrap up their work by Jan. 20, Inauguration Day,” the Post reports. 

Trump hasn’t mentioned the wall since before the presidential election. On Oct. 18, he still insisted that Mexico would be paying for the wall. The cost of the wall has always been Trump’s main deterrent from completing his project. Each mile costs $20 million of labor and material. Trump diverted billions of funds from the military—about $2.5 billion—which a court later ruled was illegal

RELATED: Border Crossings Have Dropped 77%. Trump Added Military Surveillance Cameras Anyway.

One of the issues that Biden’s administration faces is how to proceed with the wall—and the gaps—that remain. Those issues include terminating construction contracts, which Biden has the right to do, and paying the cost for demobilizing the construction sites. 

While Biden has not disclosed a detailed plan of the current wall construction, Biden’s plan for border security includes investing in better technology, improving cross-agency collaboration, and working “with Mexico and Canada as partners—not as adversaries.” 


  • Araceli Cruz

    Araceli is Copper Courier's social media manager. Her past work has been published in The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Mic, The Cut, Zora, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and others.

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