Costly, Wasteful, Harmful. Yeah, Trump.

Suspected undocumented immigrants are transferred out of the holding area after being processed at the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters CREDIT: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File.

Suspected undocumented immigrants are transferred out of the holding area after being processed at the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters CREDIT: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File.

Trump’s scarily close to insane fixation on immigration is going to be incredibly costly, and it should go without saying, highly harmful to all manner of peoples.

As part of a series of executive orders aimed at attacking immigrants and immigrant communities, President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that going forward, his administration will order the mandatory detention of all those apprehended or arrested by immigration enforcement officials.

The U.S. already spends more on all immigration enforcement — nearly $20 billion a year — than on all other federal law enforcement combined, and currently detains more immigrants each day — more than 42,000 — than ever before. Summary removals and mandatory detention are at an all-time high. And the focus on removals has come at the cost of due process, placing vulnerable populations like asylum seekers at risk. The number of asylum seekers held in detention increased threefold from 2010 to 2014.

Making detention mandatory will only exacerbate these issues.

It will also be expensive. The mandatory detention of all immigrants apprehended or arrested will cost the U.S. an additional $902 million each year, for a total of $9 billion in new federal spending over the next decade.


And these estimates are by their nature conservative. They don’t take into account potentially lengthened stays in detention under this executive order, nor any costs to DHS for rapidly building or acquiring more detention facilities and bed space to meet new needs.

Let’s put that in perspective. For $9 billion, the U.S. could instead:

Ah, those would be good things though, and the rethuglicans are in charge of the asylum, so we definitely rule that out. No point at all in helping all people, and building a safe and stable society, with some thought to a social safety net. No, in our new fascist order, that sort of thing is bad. Spending all that money to simply no point outside of causing harm, that must be more of those really good business moves we keep hearing about. *eyeroll*

Full story here.


  1. says

    These orders will mean lots more money going to the private companies who will probably be running the new detention centres. Clearly a good thing, from Trump’s point of view.

  2. blf says

    Another angle to, as Presidente Vicente Fox of Mexico puts it, that “fucking wall”, is that of USAian citizens living in Mexico. They should not be in any danger per se (of, e.g., retaliation by people or, hopefully, the government), but as an ex-pat myself, I can confirm that sort of bullshite will cause problems and extra costs.

    ¡ Viva México!

    There was a recent article (this month, Jan-2017) in the Granuiad on the pending issues facing States ex-pats in Mexico. That had never occurred to me previously, which is rather embarrassing given a somewhat analogous personal situation… (Apologies for lack of a link.)

    (Somewhat related, UK ex-pats elsewhere in the EU, and non-British EU nationals in the UK, look to be at risk of being shafted yet again and used as “bargining chips” in the brexit negotiations / deals.)

  3. blf says

    These orders will mean lots more money going to the private companies

    Yes, but not the ones teh trum-prat presumably claims will be the case, Trump’s wall: Mexican construction firms likely to be biggest winners:

    Building experts estimate barrier could cost $31bn, with most of 40,000-strong workforce from Mexican side of border

    The biggest winners from the construction of Donald Trump’s big, beautiful, powerful wall along the US–Mexico border are likely to be Mexican cement companies and construction workers.


    Trump has repeatedly said building the wall will cost $8bn to $10bn […], but construction experts have said it is likely to cost several multiples of the president’s estimate — perhaps more than $30bn.

    The construction consultants Gleeds Worldwide said building a 1,000-mile wall — the border is 1,889 miles long but large parts are protected by natural barriers including mountains and the Rio Grande — would cost $31bn and take 40,000 people more than five years to construct.

    Richard Steer, the Gleeds chairman, said the wall would be one of the most difficult and expensive construction projects ever undertaken due to the difficulty of bringing so many heavy materials to remote regions.

    He said in addition to the $4bn of concrete and $6bn of steel required for the project, more than $2bn would need to be spent on clearing land and building access roads.


    He described the project as “a highly effective and eye-catching election tweet but a pretty unrealistic tendering opportunity as currently reported.


    The high cost of transporting the approximately 44m cubic yards of concrete and 9m tonnes of steel to the site is likely to lead builders to rely on mostly Mexican-owned cement and concrete plants.

    Analysts at Bernstein investment bank plotted the location of nearby plants and quarries and found that the Mexican building company Cemex was best-positioned to provide materials on both sides of the border.

    “As ludicrous as the Trump wall project sounds (to us at least), it represents a huge opportunity for those companies involved in its construction,” a Bernstein analyst said in a research report for investors. […]


    The government accountability office has previously said the cost of constructing a border fence is between $2.8m and $3.9m a mile on flat land, but up to $16m a mile on desert or mountain terrain. The existing roughly 700-mile fence cost the government $7bn.

    The Corps of Engineers has estimated a border wall would cost between $16.4 to $70m per mile.

    I hasten to point out there is nothing wrong in principle with Mexican firms winning the contracts. Potential issues include workers exploitation & safety, since I presume Mexico’s laws are weaker than those in the States, and teh trum-prat’s dalekcracy will be disinclined to enforce the States-side laws.

  4. blf says

    Here is the Granuiad’s article (actually, an opinion column) on USAians in Mexico (see @2), Millions of Americans live in Mexico. Can we continue to coexist?:

    Donald Trump’s reckless plan for a wall risks destroying a relationship that isn’t all just one-way


    In Mexico, as in the United States, these are challenging times and, as in any relationship between two parties, the efforts and actions taken by one will affect the other: every one of the measures Mexico undertakes to improve life in our nation has an impact on our relationship with our northern neighbour. Sometimes, when things don’t turn out as we had hoped, we are tempted to cast blame on the other side for everything. Frustration turns to anger, and decisions based on this anger become a destructive force to those who make them. Let us not forget what Mark Twain said about this: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”


    Building a wall along one of the largest and most dynamic borders in the world is a toxic symbol of mistrust. In one single reckless act, the US risks destroying the very special relationship it has built with Mexico over many years and portraying Mexicans as second-class citizens. A wall is both a physical and a symbolic barrier to the notion of working together to solve common problems. The money invested in building something like this would be better spent in solving structural problems and strengthening ties.


    The author is Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz, the current governor of the the state of Jalisco, in which “one of the largest communities of expatriate Americans in the world resides peacefully on the banks of Lake Chapala”.

    ¡ Viva México!

  5. cartomancer says

    Quite how anyone can think that torture actually works baffles me. We’ve known for centuries that it doesn’t work. If nothing else the witch trials of the 17th century demonstrated this beyond all doubt.

    “And this happened on Friday, June 30, and with God’s help I had to bear the torture. . . . When at last the executioner led me back into the prison, he said to me: “Sir, I beg you, for God’s sake confess something, whether it be true or not. Invent something, for you cannot endure the torture which you will be put to; and, even if you bear it all, yet you will not escape, not even if you were an earl, but one torture will follow after another until you say you are a witch. Not before that,” he said, “will they let you go, as you may see by all their trials, for one is just like another.” . . .
    And so I begged, since I was in wretched plight, to be given one day for thought and a priest. The priest was refused me, but the time for thought was given. Now, my dear child, see in what hazard I stood and still stand. I must say that I am a witch, though I am not, --must now renounce God, though I have never done it before. Day and night I was deeply troubled, but at last there came to me a new idea. I would not be anxious, but, since I had been given no priest with whom I could take counsel, I would myself think of something and say it. It were surely better that I just say it with mouth and words, even though I had not really done it; and afterwards I would confess it to the priest, and let those answer for it who compel me to do it. . . . And so I made my confession, as follows; but it was all a lie.”

    -- Last letter from prison of Johannes Junius, Burgomeister of Bamburg, July 24, 1628.

  6. says

    Cartomancer, I’ve read Junius’s letter to his daughter, it’s pure heartbreak. The sheer evil of such trials is overwhelming, and unfortunately, we have not ascended our naked ape status enough to let go of torture. It’s certainly true that it works, as far as breaking people, but that’s all it ever does. That, and spread evil.

  7. says


    the current governor of the the state of Jalisco

    Yeah, Guadalajara has been the choice of ‘merican expats for decades. I prefer Baja California m’self, it’s what I know best. Love San Felipe.

  8. says

    Well, if Trumpet wants to build a wall with only USAmericans ™, he is screwed. About 20% jobs in the construction industry are done by imigrants with current demand. That is a significant workforce shortage he is trying to make right there for his own project.
    So it looks that if he tries to build the wall, not only will the Mexico not pay for it, but actually will get paid for it.
    A fine businessman indeed. You know of whom he remnids me? Lord Snapcase. That one too got into office only because he on occasion pretended to listen to peoples concerns, whilst being only interested in his own aggrandizement.

  9. blf says

    Caine@7, Despite, at one time, being able to see Mexico from my backyard (well, almost, it was only a few kilometres away), I’ve never actually been there…

    (I was also rather young at the time. The “only” Mexican influence I can recall from that time were our next-door (literally!) neighbors. The very nice lady, at least, was Mexican, and I distinctly recall her inviting us over on several occasions for lunch.)

  10. says


    I’ve never actually been there…

    I have! Spent lots and lots and lots of time there, it was just a bump over the border. I love Mexico, there’s an amazing range of diversity there, so if you want temperate, lush valleys, go here; deserts, go here; beaches, go here; jungles, go here, and so on. My greatest love is all along the Sea of Cortez, where I spent most of my time. If we can manage to go back, that’s where I want to land. Rick is agitating for the Yucatan though, and that’s tempting, but I love, love, love Baja Norte.

  11. blf says

    Charly@8, Yeap; see @3, it’s not only workers but materials which would most likely come from Mexico. Again, nothing wrong with that.

    And Mad Snapcase was hung by his figgin. That seems like a properly respectful method to apply to teh trum-prat whether or not he is still alive, especially as there is no reason to delay until he is not in office for some reason.

  12. says


    So it looks that if he tries to build the wall, not only will the Mexico not pay for it, but actually will get paid for it.

    That’s the current consensus right now, that if the States wants a wall, they won’t have any choice but to pay Mexico.

  13. says

    So it looks that if he tries to build the wall, not only will the Mexico not pay for it, but actually will get paid for it.

    Maaaaybe. Or Dorito Mussolini will hire the Mexican contractors with their Mexican materials, have them build the thing, and then do what he does in private real estate: stiff them on the bill.

    His base would love that -- *tricking* Mexico into paying for the wall…

  14. blf says

    Caine@12, I concur that is the current consensus in the reality-based community, which in this case would include the experts (construction firms, &tc), but there is an important caveat (mentioned by Richard Steer, chairperson of construction consultants Gleeds Worldwide in @3): “… as currently reported”. Translation: There aren’t any blueprints or anything, so just what will be built is, pedantically, unknown.

    There is an existing wall which might provide some clews (Unfinished US-Mexico border wall is a costly logistical nightmare in Texas: “Finishing the some 1,300 miles of fencing proposed in the state is daunting since most border land is privately owned and materials could cost $10bn”). That existing “wall” (more of “superfence”, actually) is a useful clew for another reason: Its legal authority / authorization is being used for teh trum-prat’s version. (Apologies for lack of link.)

  15. SenseOfTheAbsurd says

    If this malignant idiocy goes ahead, and Mexican contractors do the work, could I hope that they’d build in lots of secret doors and weaknesses, skip most of the bolts and use extra-non-durable materials?

  16. Ice Swimmer says

    I wonder how much kickbacks will the constructors of the wall will pay to Trump’s children and henchmen.

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