Trump Is Laying The Groundwork For His Border Wall Behind The Scenes

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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The Trump transition team has asked the Department of Homeland Security to report how much money is available to build a border wall, and to provide other information key to implementing the president-elect’s immigration proposals.

The requests outlined by the transition team in an early December meeting with DHS officials suggest Trump is serious about his promises to secure the southern border, deport illegal immigrants and reverse President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. A memo reviewed by Reuters summarized the meeting.

In addition to the request for an assessment of resources available for barrier construction on the border, the transition team asked the agency whether it could expand temporary immigrant detention facilities, and about a popular border surveillance program that was scaled back under Obama.

The transition team also asked whether DHS has altered immigrant records for any reason, including out of civil rights concerns, likely to determine whether Obama is trying to protect some of them from deportation.

As part of the implementation of Obama’s 2012 executive order granting millions of young illegal immigrants temporary legal status, applicants provided the government with their names and addresses. More than a million who applied are therefore possibly at risk of deportation under the Trump administration, should he reverse Obama’s order and use the list to locate and deport them. (RELATED: Obama Will Hand Massive List Of Illegal Immigrants To Trump)

The transition team also asked DHS for copies of every executive order and direct Obama issued since he took office.

DHS has identified 413 miles along the southern border where new fencing could be constructed in response to the transition team’s request, according to a report reviewed by Reuters. Officials estimated it would cost $11.37 billion to build a barrier to prevent both vehicles and people from crossing the border.

That cost estimate is in line with Trump’s proposed wall, which he has said would be at least 35 feet high and cost anywhere from $8 billion to $12 billion. Trump has said he will build a “real” wall made of pre-cast concrete that “actually looks good.”

“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively,” he said in his speech announcing his candidacy for the presidency. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

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