Are We Making Progress on the Border Barrier?

K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune via ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Washington Post claims that congressional negotiators are nearing a compromise deal on the wall:

Two people familiar with the talks said the understanding among Republicans is that the deal would offer around $2 billion for border barriers. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private deliberations.

Democrats disputed that figure. “Negotiations are ongoing and both sides are exchanging offers. Throughout the talks, Democrats have insisted that a border security compromise not be overly reliant on physical barriers. We will not agree to $2 billion in funding for barriers,” said Evan Hollander, a spokesman for House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

Hmmm. The Democratic position seems to have changed from “not one penny for a wall” to “no overreliance on physical barriers.” Progress!

The rough consensus seems to be that a wall barrier on the southern border costs about $20 million per mile, so $2 billion would buy us another 100 miles or so. That would be 1/13th of the 1,300 miles that are currently unfenced, or about 8 percent. That seems like it might count as “not overly reliant.” Or, looked at another way, if the compromise included a large total sum of money—say $10 billion or so—then the barrier money would account for only 20 percent of the total. That might also count as “not overly reliant.”

Of course, it also sounds like we might have to come up with a new name for “barrier.” How about “material instantiation of multi-component international border restriction,” or MIMCIBR? It kind of rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend