Immigration reform has been the highest priority of the Trump administration since he took office. He ran his campaign on the promise that his office would fund the creation of a wall along the Mexican-American border in an attempt to curtail illegal immigration. It appears he is finally following through on that promise.
The White House in their newest budget blueprint has asked for $1.5 billion to be allocated towards the construction of the border wall. The announcement came on Wednesday from Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget. In total, the blueprint asks for $4.1 billion between 2017 and 2018.
This would mean that $1.5 billion would be spent in the remainder of 2017 while $2.6 billion would be spent in the next fiscal year of 2018. Mulvaney told reporters the following during a press conference,
“It’s all that we think that we can spend this year. The next question is going to be how many miles of wall does that build. We don’t know the answer to that question because we haven’t settled on construction types. We haven’t settled on where we’re going to start.”
Despite the fact that no funding has actually been provided yet, the President and his associates have already begun the bidding for construction. Numerous corporations have expressed an interest in creating the wall. Ironically, the majority are owned by Hispanic-Americans.
The President promised the American people that Mexico would absolutely provide for one hundred percent repayment and signed an executive order shortly after his inauguration that would allow for immediate construction to begin.
“If he said it on the campaign, it’s in the budget. It’s coming out of the treasury.”
Indicating it is not the Mexican people who are paying up front for the wall, but the American people. The Department of Homeland Security reported it would take 3.5 years to finish construction and a total of $21.6 billion.
Senate Democrats are threatening a government shutdown, if the GOP goes through with appropriating the wall. The funding deadline comes on April 28th. Meaning, in less than a month and a half the halls of Congress might be empty for a while. Senate Democrats wrote the following letter in response the border wall budget allotment,
“We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s administration.”
Senator Chris Coons from Delaware told WHYY-FM radio during an interview about the negotiation process the following,
“Sen. [Chuck] Schumer, who’s our minority leader, who’s the leader of the Democratic caucus, is regularly negotiating with Majority Leader McConnell over what we are willing to do or not do to shut down the government or shut down the Senate.”
The President is making good on his promise to fund and create the border wall, but it comes at a cost. There is no guarantee that the United States will be able to get the money back from Mexico through subsidies and trade tariffs. In the long run, it could be the United States paying for this when that is not what many Americans signed up for.
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