Donald Trump’s Budget Promises 1,000 Miles of Border Wall

EL PASO, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 12: People work on the U.S./ Mexican border wall on February 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. U.S. President Donald Trump visited the border city yesterday as he continues to campaign for more wall to be built along the border. Democrats in Congress are asking …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s budget request to Congress says the administration has enough cash to build 1,000 miles of border wall.

“With funding made available from 2017 to 2020, the Administration will build up to approximately 1,000 miles of border wall along the Southwest border,” said the summary of the budget request for 2021 that was sent to Congress Monday.

There is a delay between the arrival of funding and the completion of construction, so the administration is unlikely to reach 1,000 miles of wall for several years. The current schedule says roughly 500 miles will be completed by early 2021

The funding is being taken from the Department of Defense’s construction budget, which is allowed by various federal laws that grant some levels of emergency power to the president. In the last two years, Trump has switched $14 billion in funding, partly because the regular funding is still beset by Democratic opposition and GOP passivity.

To build 1,000 miles, Trump may need to switch additional funds during 2020 and 2021.

The budget request for 2021 seeks just $2 billion in regular funding at the Department of Homeland Security. But that low-ball request minimizes the chance of a government shutdown just before the election.

A second budget document says:

The FY 2021 President’s Budget enhances border security through investment in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staffing, infrastructure, and technology. Funding is provided for the following priorities:

Nearly $2.0 billion for construction of approximately 82 miles of new border wall system. Funding supports real estate and environmental planning, land acquisition, wall system design, construction, and construction oversight. Border wall system impedes illicit crossborder activity by providing law enforcement with an increased response time and greater opportunity for successful law enforcement resolution

Trump’s border wall, however, has proven less effective that the paperwork wall he has created with Mexico and the Central American countries. For example, the paperwork wall allows border agencies to send migrants back into Mexico before U.S. courtroom hearings and also enables officials to fly migrants down to Guatemala to plead for asylum in that country.

Univision newscaster Jorge Ramos says Trump has won the border crisis. Under the headline, “Trump Got His Wish. Mexico Is Now the Wall,” Ramos wrote in the February 7 issue of the New York Times:

Mexico has effectively turned into an extension of Mr. Trump’s immigration police beyond American territory. And this is the case on multiple fronts: On the southern border with Guatemala, they prevent Central American migrants from coming into Mexico; on the northern one, they block those seeking entry to the United States from leaving. The decision of Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO, to follow this approach is misguided. He should let migrants continue their journey north.

However, Trump has yet to reduce the inflow of college graduate migrants into the United States a myriad of visa worker programs, such as H-1B and OPT programs.


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