Taking Trump out of the issue, Democrats have largely been united in their opposition to building a wall on the border with Mexico (with a notable half-measure in 2006). It became quite the negotiating point when they agreed to fund the wall for DACA citizenship in budget negotiations before the Jan 2018 shutdown, but saw no agreement from Republican lawmakers..

What are their main objections to a border wall? Note that fence and wall are synonymous for our purposes here.

Moderator Notice: This question explicitly asks for the positions of the Democratic Party of the United States. Any answers which do not reference official publications by Democratic politicians will likely get deleted.

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    Comments deleted. Please don't abuse comments to write mini-answers. If you would like to answer the question, please post a real answer which adheres to our quality standards. A good answer would be based solely on quotes from actual Democrat politicians.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 19:48
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    I would question the seeing of a "fence" and a "wall" as synonyms. The former seems to be cheaper, if somewhat less effective at deterring / preventing illegal immigration as a wall. It seems totally within the realm of possibility to have a politician strongly prefer one over the other. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 1:58
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    @blip I think you're misunderstanding me. There's a ton of unstated political reasons for leaving things status quo (and we could drag this down easily if we tried to list all of them on both sides). What I'm looking to understand is what the Dems stated goals here are. The GOP has made its stated goals public, but Dems are not as forthcoming on the issue. I'm not looking to bash anyone here
    – Machavity
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 13:12
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    Moderator: As it is currently written, the question does NOT explicitly ask for the positions of the Democratic Party, it asks for the positions of DEMOCRATS, which could be Democratic Party lawmakers (each of whom might have a different position), or ordinary rank & file Democratic Party voters.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 20:10
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    The DHS has stated that border walls are ineffective. Bush built many miles of wall and it was ineffective. What they are asking for is for the immigration courts to enforce the immigration laws. The DHS has no difficulty capturing border-crossers. They do have problems deporting them due to due process. They want the money to go to immigration courts and officials. But that's politically not exciting.
    – Moby Disk
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:20

2 Answers 2


It's not clear to me that Democrats are opposed to border-wall construction (your one source suggests they are fine with border walls/fences where necessary), so much as they opposed to some of the plans for full-border walls that have been put forth so far.

Recently, in response to reports that the spending bill would include funding for a border wall, 5 Democratic senators released a letter voicing concerns over the cost, the effectiveness, and the legal issues of constructing it.

We are also concerned with reports that there may be an effort to include funding for a very expensive new wall along the southern border with Mexico and a “deportation force.” According to non-partisan experts, the proposed new border wall could cost as much as $25 million per mile and raises considerable issues that have not been resolved by the Congress or the Department of Homeland Security. First, many experts believe that such a border wall will not work. Second, there is real concern that the Administration, put simply, has no plan to build the border wall. For example, the Administration has not detailed how to 1) use eminent domain and other procedures to acquire land from private landowners and Native American tribes, 2) design the wall, 3) locate the wall, 4) construct the wall, and 5) require Mexico to pay for the wall given the President’s clear and repeated promises that he would force Mexico to do so. Finally, there are objections to the construction of a wall from Democratic and Republican members of Congress that represent border states. Given these and other concerns, we believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s Administration.


Senator Charles Schumer

Senator Richard Durbin

Senator Patty Murray

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Patrick Leahy

Based on this letter, it appears their main objections to a full border wall are currently the cost-benefit ratio and the legal issues of taking land from Americans to build it on; objections that may not be unique to Democrats.

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    Wasn't me, but its probably because at least some democrats do (did?) in fact oppose any form of wall construction: dailycaller.com/2017/08/12/…
    – Matt
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 1:24
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    Your assertion is that they are opposed to Trump's wall specifically. Can you cite any examples of counter-proposals or offers of concessions for strengthening border security at all? There's no reason to believe this letter is more than simply posturing. Democratic mayors have declared cities as "sanctuary cities" and literally refused to deport illegal immigrants. It's difficult for me to believe that a party that doesn't constantly decry this kind of behavior would ever be in favor of increased border security of any kind.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 3:06
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    I'm surprised that they don't mention the ineffectiveness (there are any number of tunnels under the current border, not to mention several thousand miles of coastline and a lot of air), or the environmental impact.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 3:38
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    @jamesqf There are a lot of reasons the wall is an utterly pointless waste of money, I guess they just chose some to focus on.
    – Tim B
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 12:46
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    @TimB They did also say "many experts believe that such a border wall will not work" which presumably includes being tunneled o̶v̶e̶r̶ under.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 18:50

As a Democrat, here are some of my objections:

Mexico is not paying for it.
He promised they would; now he is demanding funds from Congress (tax-dollars).

It is Impractical
At estimates around $25 Million per mile, over extremely difficult and sensitive terrain, construction is impractical. A lot of the land is owned by private individuals and would have to be seized by Eminent Domain.

It is Ineffective
Most illegal immigration comes from people overstaying their visas. They arrive legally by car, boat, bus or airplane through normal border crossings and ports of entry, then simply never leave. Very few people actually make a difficult, dangerous, risky trek across a desert border on foot. Most smuggling of illicit goods and humans occurs at border crossings through hidden compartments and disguised shipments. A border wall through a desert would do very little to reduce immigration and smuggling at checkpoints.

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    It would be nice to source like minded officials, unless you have a leadership role yourself.
    – user9389
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 0:25
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    Why do I need sourced officials? The OP asked about "Democrats" which is a party with literally millions of members. I am a registered Democrat; I donate; I have had roles (in the past) as a local level Party Official.
    – abelenky
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 1:28
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    This answer survives deletion on a technicality, but I still downvoted because I am quite certain that when the question author asked for "objections from Democrats", he meant "objections from Democrats known beyond local level".
    – Philipp
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 10:46
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    Millions of people have as valid credentials, which makes it opinion. Adding some hint that it is a common opinion, the opinion of a prominent figure, or an official position would make it better fit the site.
    – user9389
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 11:31
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    Why not just cite these? They are common objections raised by Democrats, after all.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 0:41

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