Revealed: White House Outlines Border Spending Plans

Picture of a prototype of US President Donald Trump's US-Mexico border wall being built near San Diego, in the US, as seen from across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, on October 5, 2017. Following up on President Donald Trump's campaign promise to build a wall along the entire 3,200 kilometre …
GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty

The White House has released a detailed list of border security spending plans, as a top White House official said Democrats have not even begun to engage in negotiations.

The January 6 list from the Office of Management and Budget asks Congress to provide for $5.7 billion for 234 miles of border wall, $563 million for additional immigration judges, $211 million for extra border agents, $571 million for extra enforcement agents, $798 million extra for 52,000 beds to keep migrants in detention, and $631 million for to buy extra devices to screen vehicles for drugs as they cross the border.

The list also asks for $800 million for extra “humanitarian needs” for the growing wave of job-seeking migrants. The extra funding would include money for “temporary facilities for processing and short-term custody of this vulnerable population.”

But Democrats are not negotiating, said Mike Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff. “The other side has not moved yet – I really do firmly believe they think they are winning the PR battle and are willing to drag this out because they think it hurts the President,” he told NBC News.

The Democrats’ unwillingness to negotiate was shown during a weekend meeting with Democratic staffers, Mulvaney said. ‘The discussion immediately turned to a bunch of technical requirements or technical requests the Democrats were asking for, for the first time ever in these negotiations, so I think this is going to drag on a lot longer, and I think that is by intention.”

Earlier, Democrats ignored a compromise offer by Trump which asked for $12.5 billion for the border wall, Mulvaney said. “It was a deal we were trying to get in place before the shutdown,” he said. “It is not on the table anymore … [and] it was not even countered” by Democrats, he said.

So far, Democrats have said they oppose any spending to build a wall. They say they will support $1.3 billion in border security spending during 2019 but have not said how much of the $1.3 billion could be spent on construction of a fence or barrier.

Democrats also say they want to spend more money to help migrants cross safely into the United States — so allowing the migrants to apply for blue-collar jobs that would otherwise go to Americans.

The OMB spending list does not significantly back away from any of Trump’s priorities.

For example, the document offers to re-establish a program set by President Barack Obama to allow migrants in Central Ameria to apply for asylum in the United States. But that program must be accompanied by legal changes that would allow border officials to promptly return migrants home, the letter said. Without the change, “in-country process will not reduce the unauthorized flow or successfully mitigate the humanitarian crisis,” the letter said.

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