President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security is asking Congress for $1.6 billion in appropriations to build 65 more miles of border wall in 2019 — and is also asking for $18 billion to be set aside in the two-year budget for border-wall funding over the next few years.
The agency also wants more funds to hire more agents and build additional facilities so that it can hold 50,000 migrants while their legal claims for amnesty are heard by backup immigration courts.
The funding request asks for two categories of funding.
It asks that $18 billion be set aside in the two-year budget plan which approved by Congress last week. The budget plan does not now include any funds for the border wall, largely because of opposition by Democrats and lack of interest by the GOP establishment. If approved, the $18 billion would fund construction of the 700-miles border wall, but not the equipment or personnel needed to operate the wall, nor would it include the legal reforms needed to stop migrants using legal loopholes to walk through the wall.
The request describes the agency’s 2019 spending plans for approval by the House and Senate appropriations committees, even though the 2018 request has not been finalized, five months after it was supposed to be approved October 1.
The agency is asking for $47.5 billion, up seven percent from the 2018 request. If approved, the extra funds will help hire 750 more border officers, 2,000 law-enforcement officers, build 65 miles of new wall, boost cyberdefenses, and construct new ships for the Coast Guard during 2019.
In 2017, the agency asked for $1.6 billion to fund 74 miles of border wall in 2018, mostly in the Rio Grande Valley. That funding is now included in the draft appropriations bills and may be included in the final 2018 appropriations bill, due by late March.