Alternative ways for President Trump’s administration to scrounge together money to construct more of their bollard-style fencing at the United States-Mexico border may amount to less than $600 million.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was looking to “specific pots of money” to fund the bollard fencing that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been constructing in San Diego, California, Calexico, California, El Paso, Texas, and in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
As Breitbart News Political Editor Matt Boyle notes, Huckabee and the Trump administration have provided no details as to where such funding would come from.
Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Jessica Vaughan told Breitbart News that the position the president has been placed in — by his White House Legislative Affairs Director Shahira Knight and the Republican-controlled Congress — has left him begging for even the smallest levels of border funding.
“The president has to beg Congress for money for a basic function of government that’s critical to our national security and that Americans want to see happen,” Vaughan said.
Since March, Trump’s Defense Department has reviewed two avenues of potential funding to construct more barriers at the southern border, Just Security‘s Kate Brannen detailed at the time.
One of those alternative funding routes is using the Defense Department’s more than $500 million that has been appropriated for counternarcotics programs. The additional second route is tapping into the Defense Department’s “MILCON” funding, where about $50 million can be used to construct barriers at the border without congressional approval.
Between these two routes through the Defense Department, this would get Trump less than $600 million to fund bollard fencing projects in the new year.
To put that into perspective, the most recent cost of the administration’s El Paso bollard fencing project is $22 million to replace four miles of existing barriers. At this rate, the roughly $550 million that Trump could get from the Defense Department may deliver 100 miles of new border construction projects in the new year.
While the most amount of border funding, $5 billion, was included in the Republican-controlled House version of the DHS spending bill, that money has been tied to a series of open borders provisions by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) that would counteract efforts to stop illegal immigration at the southern border.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.