Mexico border wall will cost at least $21.6B

Tracy FergusonFeb 13, 2017

A report completed by the Department of Homeland Security and leaked to the Reuters news agency on Thursday, pegs the cost of extending the existing barrier along the southern border at $21.6 billion, nearly double the $12 billion figure that Trump floated during his presidential campaign.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is set to receive the report in the coming days, according to Reuters.

Who will pay for the cost of the wall's construction and upkeep remains very much a subject of controversy, following Trump's vow that Mexico will foot the bill.

The report says the border wall would be built in three phases covering just over 1,250 miles (2,000 km) by the end of 2020.

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Trump has consistently promised that Mexico will be paying for the border wall, however, Mexican leaders have repeatedly refused. "However, we are concerned that the sweeping language and broad requirement of this executive order will force you to divert critical resources from Department of Homeland Security priorities, hampering your agency's ability to carry out its mission and keep our country safe", they wrote in a letter to Kelly. While Trump plans to ask Congress to initially pay for the wall, he also says he will eventually require Mexico to pay.

Around 654 miles of the U.S. -Mexico border already have walls or fences. It will cover 26 miles in San Diego, El Paso, and the Rio Grade Valley in south Texas.

The report assumes that the Department of Homeland Security would get taxpayer funding approved by Congress by April or May, with construction starting in September.

It also shows the U.S. government has begun seeking waivers to bypass environmental laws on building in some areas, started to work with contractors and is planning steel purchases for the project. But the US President has said he will lower the cost of the wall, which estimates say could cost between $15 - $25 billion.

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When asked why has the government not been able to tackle this festering problem, he said, world over this is a very hard problem. He also argues it would be easier to implement than India's current anti-poverty programmes, which are riddled with corruption.

On Wednesday, the president told a Washington D.C. meeting of law enforcement officials gathered from around the nation that "the wall is getting designed right now".

The first phase, estimated to cost only $360 million, could be a relatively easy way for Trump to satisfy supporters eager to see him make good on his campaign promises to limit illegal migration.

I imagine for many United States residents along the border with Mexico, the wall will positively impact their lives.

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