President Donald Trump is floating a new idea on how to make Mexico pay for the southern border wall. At an event in Yuma, Arizona this week, the president said he is considering a toll on vehicles crossing the U.S. border from Mexico. Trump didn't say how much the toll would be or provide any further details. Currently, the wall is being built using billions of dollars redirected from the Pentagon, after Congress repeatedly refused to authorize any funding for the wall.
It remains to be seen exactly how the president would implement a border toll, nor if he could do so without Congressional approval. But some border security advocates support the idea. "A border crossing user fee would generate much-needed revenue for the border and upkeep on the ports of entry, and would come from those who are actually using our infrastructure," says David Ray with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "This would ensure everyone crossing into the United States by land border would help pay something that would go towards the security of the nation."
As for how much a border toll could raise, that depends on how much is charged. "More than 300 million people cross U.S. land borders each year," says Ray. "So if we charge just two dollars per person, we could raise 600 million dollars per year."
While some critics have mocked Trump for failing to deliver on his promise to get Mexico to pay for the wall, the president has argued that is already happening indirectly through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Ray believes this is another legitimate way to recoup some of the costs. "People coming into the United States are incurring a cost which right now is being paid by U.S. taxpayers," he says. "Why don't we have those who are using the border help pay for the border?"