Border Wall Cost Estimate Soars in Leaked Report
DHS says it will cost $21.6B over 3.5 years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2017 7:08 AM CST
Updated Feb 11, 2017 8:48 AM CST
People walk past a mural painted on a border structure in Tijuana, Mexico, on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017.   (AP Photo/Julie Watson)
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(Newser) – A barrier along the border with Mexico could be ready in 2020, but it won't be cheap, according to a leaked Department of Homeland Security report seen by Reuters. The internal report estimates that the cost will be $21.6 billion, around double the $10 billion to $12 billion figure President Trump cited during his campaign. The plan commissioned by new DHS Secretary John Kelly calls for construction of walls and fences in three phases over more than three years to have the barrier ready by the end of 2020, starting with 26 miles of wall in Texas and California. This would be followed by 151 miles of barrier in Arizona and Texas, then 1,080 miles to seal off remaining sections of the border, which already has 654 miles of barriers.

The leaked plan does not reveal what the wall would look like, or what is going to be done in mountainous areas where construction would be unfeasible. Large parts of the border, especially in Texas, are in privately owned land and the cost of acquiring it, through eminent domain or other methods, is one reason for the soaring cost estimate. "People's individual property will be condemned by the federal government for construction of the wall," researcher Denise Gilman tells the Arizona Republic. "That's what happened in the past. And that's what would have to happen." Trump tweeted early Saturday that he hasn't gotten involved in wall design or negotiations yet. When he does, the "price will come WAY DOWN," he promised.

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