Trump wants $18 billion for wall in ‘Dreamer’ deal
President Trump this week offered his most detailed request to date of his plans for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, making the request amid budget negotiations on Capitol Hill for a deal that would include a fix for young undocumented immigrants in the country.
According to a document obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Trump is asking Congress for nearly $18 billion to fund his border wall expansion project. The document specifically calls for the construction of more than 700 miles of new barriers along the border.
A document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for a group of senators shows the administration’s plan to nearly double the amount of fencing on America’s southern border, from the 654 miles currently built to around 1,000 miles total.
The Trump administration is seeking $33 billion in total to increase security along the southern border, with the remaining $15 billion going to fund “critical physical border security requirements” such as technology, personnel and roads.
The funding boost also directs $8.5 billion over seven years for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and other officials for deployment along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump has made funding for the border wall a top demand in congressional negotiations to provide a fix to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, a program Trump ended last year. Trump says he will not sign a fix granting “amnesty” to DACA recipients without action to secure the border first.
A group of Senate Republicans met with Trump on Thursday to discuss DACA, which Democrats are seeking to make a major focus of January’s fight over funding the government. The program provides protection for certain immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
“I think as soon as the president will tell us ‘OK, this is something I could support’ then I think that gives us, I think, a lot of room to go talk to Democrats and say ‘OK, this what our parameters are,'” Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) said of the negotiations.
Senate negotiators said Wednesday that the fight over the spending bill is being held up by the administration, which had yet to formally release its specific demands for immigration reform. As of Wednesday, lawmakers were unsure whether the administration would insist on funding for a wall, or if it would rather settle for increased patrols and security.
“That’s something we’re waiting on the White House to give us clarity on,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). “When you talk to [the Department of Homeland Security] and the other individuals, they talk about technology, they talk about personnel, they talk about physical barriers.”
Updated: 8:59 p.m.