Making good on his promise to build a border wall with Mexico, President Trump’s new budget seeks a $1.5 billion down payment on the project that could employ thousands and cost up to $15 billion.
Officials said that the request is for seed money to test different systems, walls and fencing, similar to what is now used on about 700 miles of the border.
While Trump has promised to “make Mexico pay,” there wasn’t an indication that his new budget, set to be released later Thursday, will have a fundraising scheme targeting Mexico. Under consideration is a tax on imports from Mexico, a cut in foreign aid the country and a tax on the tens of billions of dollars Mexicans, here legally and illegally, send home every year.
Budget officials said that the administration is still considering proposals for the wall and haven’t decided if it will be the same all along the border or different styles.
The wall budget was one of several released to reporters in advance of Thursday’s Trump budget debut. The overall budget cuts many departments, including a 28 percent cut at State, though much comes from reducing foreign aid. Conservatives shown the outline on Wednesday cheered the cuts and applauded the wall funding.
House and Senate homeland security committee leaders have suggested a mixed use system that would include thick walls in heavily trafficked areas, fencing in others and electronic or drone surveillance in territories that are hard to reach.
Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, recently toured the wall that protects Israel. It is mostly made up of two parallel chain link fences with enough room in the middle for a patrol car to pass.
The public supports the wall but is not fully behind taxpayers funding it.
According to a newly released Public Policy Polling survey, “There continues to be strong resistance to the wall with Mexico if American taxpayers end up having to fund it. Just 37 percent of voters support the wall if we pay for it, to 55 percent who are opposed to that. Even more unpopular is the concept floated last week of having the wall paid for by cuts to funding for the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency- just 16 percent of voters support making reductions in those places to build the wall, with 69 percent against.”