President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget asks Congress to construct 60 miles of new border walls along the U.S./Mexico border – all of which would be located in Texas.
The plan is for the Rio Grande Valley Sector to receive 32 miles of a new border wall, and 28 miles of a new levee wall. The levee in Hidalgo County is designed to address flooding. The budget refers to the new border wall as “a physical wall.”
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said, “We are absolutely dead serious about the wall.” He called it one of President Trump’s “top three” budget priorities, reported Breitbart News on Tuesday. Mulvaney denied that the administration was scaling back funding for border walls by saying the Trump administration’s budget was a striking hike from the 2017 budget. The 2018 budget increases allocations for border security by $1.1 billion, and $1.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The director of the Office of Management and Budget also urged Trump voters to be patient and said this proposed action was a beginning for a project that will be protracted. “Keep in mind; you can’t just … you don’t automatically magically build a wall in the middle of nowhere,” the director stated.
The budget for the U.S. Department of Justice also asks for $1.8 million to “meet litigation, acquisition, and appraisal demands during the construction along the border between Mexico and the United States.” Breitbart News reported that the funds would be used to hire 12 attorneys and eight staff members for the section of the DOJ that defends litigation arising from eminent domain proceedings (the Environmental and Natural Resources Division’s Land Acquisition Section, “LAS”).
Those who are fighting the construction of border walls are mostly on partisan lines. Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) said “Putting taxpayers on the hook to pay for it is just the latest brick in a wall of broken campaign promises. If we are going to pour billions into concrete, it ought to be an investment in ourselves, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure,” reported Dallas’ WBAP 820 AM on Thursday. However, landowners in Texas say they will fight mightily to keep their property, and they hope the litigation will be protracted beyond any Trump administration tenure. The New York Times report also said there are more than 90 eminent domain lawsuits from landowners in South Texas and they have been pending since 2008.
The Dallas radio station reported that Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) who serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration said, “If we really want to secure our borders, and I think the voters in this last presidential election indicated they did, we must be willing to devote the necessary level of funding to achieve it.”