The Trump administration is asking Congress for nearly $18 billion to build more than 700 miles of new and replacement barriers along the southwest border, reports the Wall Street Journal. It is the most detailed description yet of the president’s vision for a border wall with Mexico.
The proposal would be a major expansion from the 654 miles of barrier now, bringing the total to nearly 1,000 miles, about half of the entire southwest border. The plans were laid out by the Department of Homeland Security for a group of senators who asked the administration to detail its request for border security.
In all, the administration details about $33 billion in desired new border-security spending, including funding for technology, personnel and roads. President Trump campaigned on a promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” on the border to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking, and promised Mexico would pay for it. Congress hasn’t agreed to spend any money on the project, and Mexico says it won’t fund it. Homeland Security envisions the border-wall project unfolding over 10 years. The proposal comes as lawmakers and the White House negotiate an immigration package that would legalize young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, a group known as Dreamers.
The White House has demanded that border security be included in the legislation. Congressional support for the border wall is tepid, with Democrats and even many Republicans opposed on either financial or symbolic grounds.