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Despite Trump’s Claims, Much Cannot Be Done with $1.6B for Border Fencing

President Trump visiting border wall in prototypes in San Diego County, California. (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)
Joel Pollak / Breitbart News
Washington, DC

Since President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill—though it did not include a single provision from his 70-point list of pro-American immigration reforms—he has touted the move as a “start” to a border wall and says “much can be done” with the funding to fulfill his most important campaign promise.

Despite Trump’s claims, though, the omnibus purposefully narrows the scope of what the president can do with the $1.6 billion—just 0.12 percent of the spending bill—included in the bill for border security.

“Much can be done with the $1.6 Billion given to building and fixing the border wall,” Trump said in a post on Sunday:

“Not happy with 1.6 billion, but it does start the wall and we’ll make that $1.6 billion go very far,” Trump said last week during a news conference when he announced that he had already signed the omnibus.

No Wiggle Room

The omnibus, for example, does not allow Trump to “go very far” or even do much with the slim amount of funding for new border fencing given to him by the Republican-controlled Congress.

For example, as Breitbart News noted, the omnibus bans Trump from using any of the prototype models of border walls for new fencing on the border. This leaves him forced to only spend $641 million on new fencing that must be constructed from fencing that has been used in other parts of the border.

Even more constraining, the omnibus tells Trump exactly where he must put his new fencing. These limits force him to put the new fence only in the San Diego and Rio Grande Valley region of the southern border.

Same Old Fencing

When Trump visited the border wall prototypes this month, he derided the current fencing on the border as being insufficient in its attempt to keep illegal aliens from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

“You have hundreds of holes cut in, and patched,” Trump said at the time.

This new fencing is not the wall Trump has promised. Instead, the new fencing is merely a continuation of fencing that was approved in the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a project Congress passed but never finished.

Additionally, House and Senate GOP leadership have claimed that the omnibus funds 100 miles of fencing for the border wall. That figure is inflated, as only 33 miles of the border will be filled with brand new fencing, while about 77 miles will be filled with more upgraded and additional fencing that already exists.

‘Down Payment’

Trump’s consistent assertion that the $1.6 billion in new and upgraded fencing for the border is a “down payment” for a larger border wall does not add up to the promise he originally made his working and middle-class base of supporters.

For instance, the slim funds cannot be a “down payment” for Trump’s border wall because attached to the funding is a ban on the wall, only allowing the previously-used fencing constructed on the border.

Trump’s original plans for a wall—using the existing prototypes that have been sitting in the San Diego desert for half a year now—are expected to cost $18 billion. His Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested $25 billion for not only the full construction of a border wall but also for major improvements in the current immigration system.

To force Congress to hand over the $25 billion needed to construct the border wall would have to be immediately devised by the Trump administration in order to have it ready in time to present when the omnibus spending bill runs out in September.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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