DHS Has $20M on Hand for $21.6B Wall: Report
It's a little short of what's needed, if estimates are accurate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2017 7:03 AM CST
In this Jan. 4, 2016, file photo, a US Border Patrol agent drives near the US-Mexico border fence in Santa Teresa, NM.   (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

(Newser) – Administration officials may have to mine the Oval Office couch for loose change in the wake of the latest financial report from the Department of Homeland Security. Per a DHS document Reuters saw, the agency has pored over the "existing funds and resources" President Trump said would be tapped to pay for a wall along the country's border with Mexico, and it only came up with about $20 million—or $21.58 billion short of the $21.6 billion it's expected to take to erect a wall and accompanying fence along the entire stretch. The report, which DHS is said to have presented to congressional budget staff last week, notes that amount could get some signatures on contracts for wall prototypes, but it wouldn't cover breaking ground on any structures.

Mic notes that, based on DHS estimates, the newly found reserves would pay for "one whole mile of wall"; the US-Mexico border spans about 2,000 miles, per CNBC. Trump's wall plans, spelled out in a January executive order, stated that the US would pay for the wall with government funds and that reimbursement would later come from Mexico (though Mexico has said repeatedly it won't be paying a cent). Fox News notes that Trump initially said the wall would cost just $12 billion; he said at the time that wall-building would begin in just "months." That timeline may need to be tweaked as the president likely goes to Plan B for making up the shortage: asking Congress for the rest. Speaker Paul Ryan has previously indicated he'd work funding for the wall, which he estimates would cost between $12 billion and $15 billion, into the next fiscal year's budget.

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