Politics

REPORT: Trump Wants $18 Billion For Border Wall Expansion

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

The Trump administration is seeking $18 billion to construct about 700 miles of border wall and fencing over the next decade, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The funding would go towards adding to or replacing the existing 654 miles of border barrier, bringing the total to nearly 1,000 miles, or about about half of the entire southwest border.

Part of a border security package totaling $33 billion, the wall funds include $9 billion over the first five years and $8.7 billion over the next five years, according to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) memo described to WSJ. The administration envisions using the funds to construct some sort of physical barrier — fencing or solid wall — across 970 miles of the border by 2027.

The $18 billion price tag notwithstanding, the administration’s request aims for a result far short of President Donald Trump’s original promise to build a wall along the entire expanse of the 2,200-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. Several administration officials have conceded that a physical wall from San Diego to Brownsville, Tex. is not a likely outcome, describing the project instead as a multi-faceted approach that includes physical barriers, surveillance systems and more border officers.

The CBP memo comes as the White House and Congress wrangle over provisions of a bill to provide legal status to the recipients of the now-canceled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump has insisted that border wall funding be included in any final DACA bill.

It is not clear how much of $18 billion in wall funding the White House will request as part of a DACA deal. The CBP memo does not address other immigration priorities, such as changes to the legal immigration system, and is only an outline of the administration’s goals for border security funding, according to an administration official.

“This document only covers one aspect — the border security needs — of  the president’s previously stated immigration policy priorities and was delivered to [Capitol Hill] to meet a specific request from negotiating team members,” the official told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The border wall needs to be fully funded by Congress but the other priorities, such as improved immigration enforcement measures and a merit-based immigration system, must also be part of the larger immigration reform package.”

Other funding outlined in the memo would go towards boosting infrastructure, technology and staffing at the border. The document asks for $5.7 billion over five years for guard towers, surveillance equipment, and drones; $1 billion over five years for road construction and maintenance; and $8.5 billion over seven years to hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents.

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