Everyone and their mother is familiar with President Donald Trump’s signature campaign promise: he’ll build a wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it.
The Donald signed off on a number of executive orders Wednesday to advance that goal. One called for the wall to be built as soon as physically possible, stripped sanctuary cities of federal grants, hired 5,000 more border patrol agents, and called for the end of our current “catch and release” policy. Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto pulled out of a meeting he had planned with Trump on January 31st following the orders. Apparently he didn’t actually expect Trump to follow through on what was the foundation of his campaign.
The border wall is getting built regardless of who is paying for it – but if Mexico were to end up paying for the wall, it wouldn’t be the first time a president got another country to pay for a border with the U.S. For that, we just need to look back in history to who was president a week ago.
Canada agreed to pay for the new Detroit-Windsor bridge, U.S. customs building and the access roads around the bridge in 2015, according to The Globe and Mail. Ottawa failed to get the U.S. to pay for the $250 million customs building, and the Canadian government had already agreed to pay for 95 percent of the bridge’s costs. The bridge is scheduled to be finished in 2020.In 2012, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper insisted the customs building was “the responsibility of the U.S. government.” Washington, D.C., only said the U.S. would operate and staff the building — not pay for it — and Canada caved.Speaking of Obama, then-Sens. Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton all helped pass a 2006 law authorizing construction of 700 miles of fencing along the southern border.
Granted, Trump wants to send a bill to Mexico that will range between $10 billion and $25 billion, so that’s large compared to the $2 billion Canada forked over. Still, it’s not like illegal immigration from Canada is costing our economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year.[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]