How much would Donald Trump’s border wall cost and how long would it be?

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FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood and Trump???s charitable foundation reached a deal on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to dissolve the foundation and distribute its remaining assets to other nonprofit groups. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump has been accused of ‘holding the American people hostage’ (Picture: Evan Vucci/AP)

Donald Trump has used his first primetime address to try to garner support for his border wall.

In the midst of the second longest government shutdown in United States history, the American people saw Trump take to the airwaves in an effort to fulfil one of his core campaign promises: to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Here’s everything you need to know about his speech, and the wall he so desperately wants built.

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House as he walks from Marine One, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Washington. Trump returned from a trip to Camp David. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Oval Office Addresses are typically only made on the most solemn of occasions – like a national emergency, or when a president leaves office. (Picture:Alex Brandon/AP)

How much would the border wall cost?

In his Oval Office speech, Donald Trump asked for what amounts to £4.5 billion to build the border wall. In US dollars, that’s $5.7 billion.

Trump claimed that Mexico would effectively be paying for the wall through a ‘great new trade deal’.

However Welles Orr, who worked as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Congressional Affairs under George H.W. Bush, has explained that this isn’t how trade deals work.

Welles Orr said: ‘Trade agreements are designed to reduce regulatory hurdles.

‘Most of our tariffs are zero, or very, very low.’

Even if there were new tariffs, they go into the US Treasury fund, not to particular projects.

On top of all that, this trade agreement hasn’t been ratified yet, and likely wont be until at least spring.

President Donald Trump greets members of the five branches of the military by video conference on Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018, in the Oval Office of the White House. The military members were stationed in Guam, Qatar, Alaska, and two groups in Bahrain. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Alternative facts aren’t facts (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

How long would the wall be?

The US/Mexican border is approximately 1,900 miles long. This distance reaches across four states: California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

There’s already a fence around the border that stretches hundreds of miles. Trump has reportedly said that his wall will span a distance of 1,000 miles. Natural obstacles would serve to guard the other 900 miles.

What was Trump’s Oval Office Address about?

In essence, Trump’s speech was an effort to get money for a border wall between the United States and Mexico. His promise to build a border wall was a key part of his election campaign.

In his speech on 8 January, he made various claims as to the harm that illegal immigration is causing the country with violence and drugs, and how the Democrats are essentially to blame for the continued government shutdown.

There are plenty of non-alternative facts that contradict him.

For instance, Time highlights that studies have shown that actually immigrants commit crimes less frequently than those who are American-born.

While the majority of heroin does come from the southern border as Trump said, the Drug Enforcement Agency in the US has actually found that most of it arrives in cars entering the states legally.

As for the Democrats? According to the Huffington Post, they made a set of bipartisan proposals in Congress which would have allocated approximately $1.3 billion towards border security, including fencing. These proposals were rejected by Trump.

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To say there’s been a negative response to this address would be putting it mildly, with plenty of people pointing out how continued gun violence in America has yet to be given the same level of attention from Trump.

Nancy Pelosi, the newly appointed (for the second time) Speaker of The House of Representatives, has responded by saying ‘The fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government.’

MORE: Donald Trump downgrades EU’s status in the US without any warning

MORE: Trump says people build walls, ‘not because they hate… but because they love the people inside’

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