News & Politics

White House Asks for $18 Billion Over a Decade to Fund Border Wall

People pass graffiti along the border structure in Tijuana, Mexico, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Julie Watson)

The White House says it will require $18 billion over the next decade for construction of a new wall along the southern border. The funding will cover about 300 miles of the 2,000 miles of border with Mexico, with a projected 850 miles of new construction being contemplated.

The $18 billion figure was revealed in a strategy document issued by the White House to congressional negotiators working with Democrats to fund the government after January 19. Democrats refuse to fund the wall unless Republicans legalize young illegal aliens who arrived in the U.S. with their parents — the so-called DREAMers.

CNN:

The Trump administration has revealed its master plan for securing the border — and it’s going to cost $33 billion.

Of that total, $18 billion will be required for President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall, according to Customs and Border Protection documents obtained by CNN that were sent to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The remaining $15 billion would cover technology, personnel and readiness, the document says.

Titled “Critical CBP Requirements to Improve Border Security,” the document says CBP has identified what a 2,026-mile border wall system would entail –comprising about 864 miles of new wall and about 1,163 miles of replacement or secondary wall — even as administration officials and their allies insist they are not pursuing a wall “from sea to shining sea,” as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and her predecessor John Kelly have testified to Congress.

The document says the $18 billion investment will cover 722 miles of border wall — about 316 new miles of primary structure and about 407 miles of replacement and secondary wall.

The administration does not envision the investment happening all at once, laying out the investment costs over 10 years, breaking down the totals desired per year. The fiscal year 2018 request would have 60 miles of primary wall and 14 miles of secondary wall to the tune of $1.6 billion, for example, and FY19 would cover 65 miles for another $1.6 billion. The numbers increase in subsequent years.

Congress has yet to agree to appropriate any of the administration’s requested funds for a border wall.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the strategy document.

A source familiar says Senate appropriators received a lengthy report on border security from the administration overnight.

The document CNN obtained was a shorter one sent to key negotiators who are discussing replacing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump has opted to end.

Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall has come up against congressional realities. Still, $33 billion over the next 10 years to help secure the border is far more than any other president has proposed. While ambitious and costly, it is a realistic plan that could pass Congress if Republicans can get behind it.

Folding the border security proposal in with funding the government means that almost all Republicans will probably support it. But any additional funding may run into trouble, as several lawmakers have expressed misgivings about such massive infrastructure spending with unproven returns on security.

The base of both parties will not be pleased if a bipartisan deal is struck to legalize DREAMers in exchange for agreeing to fund the border wall. But neither side wants a government shut-down, so if the details can be worked out, Trump should get his border wall funding.