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Why is the government mandating

The new president would need a stand-alone bill from Congress to condemn their land.

Donald Trump captured the imagination of many American voters with a single campaign promise.

"I will build a great, great wall on our southern border," he boasted in June 2015.

The president's proposal has a decadeslong history.

After the 1986 "amnesty," when President Ronald Reagan traded increased border security for the legalization of 3 million unauthorized immigrants, the San Diego Border Patrol constructed a 10-foot welded steel fence along the 14-mile section of the border closest to the Pacific.

Moreover, the 317 miles of real pedestrian fences dramatically vary in height and quality.

The Border Patrol uses half a dozen types of fencing materials—wire mesh, landing mats, chain-link, bollard, aesthetic, and sheet piling—just to control on-foot crossings.

Entities other than the federal government—states, Indian tribes, private individuals—control over two-thirds of borderland property.

Private parties own the vast majority of the border in Texas, and for this reason, roughly 70 percent of the existing border fence is located in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The Bush administration bullied property owners, threatening to sue them if they did not "voluntarily" hand over the rights to their land. Thinking that they had no recourse, some people signed off, but others refused.

His barrier would be an "impenetrable physical wall" composed of "precast [concrete] plank…30 feet long, 40 feet long." He also insisted that it would be aesthetically pleasing.

While he said after the election that a fence may be appropriate in "some areas," he added that a wall would be better, and he has since vigorously corrected reporters who describe the project as a "fence." Throughout the campaign, he described the current fences as a "joke," implying that he would not only build a superior barrier, but that he would replace the one that exists at some points now.

The Tohono O'odham Nation, which has land on both sides of the border, has already pledged to fight any efforts to build a wall there.