GOP/Dems $1.3B Offer for Wall Mimics Past Restrictions on Border, Provides Less Funds

Border Wall
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A Republican-Democrat offer to President Trump of about $1.3 billion to construct a border wall at the United States-Mexico border mimics past deals in restrictions it is set to place on the White House while offering less funding overall.

As Breitbart News reported, elected Republicans and Democrats are currently writing the details of a Homeland Security spending deal that gives Trump just a quarter of the wall funding he has repeatedly asked for. Additionally, the deal is set to keep detention space for border crossers at around the same pace, meaning the mass Catch and Release of illegal aliens that occurred last year will continue throughout this year.

In total, the deal offers:

  • $1.3 billion in funding for a border wall
  • 55 miles of new barriers at the southern border
  • About 40,250 beds for federal immigration detention of border crossers

When compared to previous deals between Congress and the Trump administration, this latest bipartisan negotiation offers less wall funding, potentially less border wall construction, and even less detention space than has been offered in the past.

Throughout 2017, when the Republican-controlled Congress failed to fully fund a border wall, the president commissioned his administration to release exactly how much a wall would cost. In total, that amount came to about $25 billion to fully secure the border.

Offers from former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) floated around $5.7 billion in funding for the wall. The funding, though, did not dip lower than $1.6 billion.

Last year, when Trump signed a massive omnibus spending bill, the deal only included $1.6 billion and major restrictions on where the border wall could be constructed and what the wall could be made of.

The omnibus’s contingencies on the wall mandated that the barrier had to be the same bollard-style fencing that previous presidents have used. Both President George W. Bush and President Obama used the bollard fencing at the border. The only major difference between those barriers and Trump’s is that this administration has made the barrier taller in some regions at the border.

The 2018 omnibus allowed for about 97 miles of either new barriers at the border or for areas of existing barriers to be replaced. The spending bill also mandated that detention space for federal immigration officials be reduced from what authorities had been operating with.

Where officials had been using, on average, about 40,761 beds for detention, the omnibus spending bill cut that total down to about 40,500 beds.

Before the latest government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans floated a compromise deal of about $1.6 billion for wall funding — much like the omnibus — that would have likely come with all the stipulations on the wall that had been previously deployed by House and Senate Republicans.

At the time, Trump reiterated he would not take any less funding than $5.7 to $5 billion for border wall construction. Though the administration believed the $1.6 billion price tag was low, it was still not as low as the current offer of about $1.3 billion for the border wall.

Experts have told Breitbart News that Trump never needed Congress to help him build a wall. As Defense Department officials have reiterated, the president has full authority to invoke 10 United States Code § 284, which authorizes the U.S. military to build barriers at the southern border.

Declaring a national emergency is not necessary, experts say, for Trump to build a wall.

Illegal immigration at the border, for December 2018, has increased 81 percent compared to this same month the year before. Additionally, between January 25 and February 15 — the period that Trump has given Congress to work on a border security package — there is likely to be anywhere between 30,000 to 44,000 illegal border crossings based on previous DHS totals. This is about 1,300 to 2,000 illegal crossings a day at the southern border.

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

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