President Trump is asking Congress for nearly $18 billion in funding to expand the border wall and provide for hundreds of miles of new fencing, according to a document obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
A document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for a group of senators shows the administration’s plan to nearly double the amount of fencing on America’s southern border, from 654 miles currently built to around 1,000 miles total.
The Trump administration is seeking $33 billion in total to increase security along the southern border, with the remaining $15 billion going to fund “critical physical border security requirements” such as technology, personnel, and roads.
Among the boost in funding for border security included $8.5 billion over seven years to hire and train 5,000 new Border Patrol agents for deployment along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump has said that funding for the border wall was a prerequisite for his administration working with Congress to find a legislative fix to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, which Trump ended last year. Trump says he will not sign a fix granting “amnesty” to DACA recipients without action first taken to secure the border.
A group of Senate Republicans met with Trump on Thursday to discuss DACA, which Democrats are seeking to make a major focus of January’s fight over funding the government.
“I think as soon as the president will tell us ‘OK, this is something I could support’ then I think that gives us, I think, a lot of room to go talk to Democrats and say ‘OK, this what our parameters are,'” Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) said afterwords.
Senate negotiators said Wednesday that the fight over the spending bill is being held up by the administration, which has yet to formally release its specific demands for immigration reform. As of Wednesday, lawmakers were unsure whether the administration would insist on funding for a wall, or if it would rather settle for increased patrols and security.
“That’s something we’re waiting on the White House to give us clarity on,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). “When you talk to [the Department of Homeland Security] and the other individuals, they talk about technology, they talk about personnel, they talk about physical barriers.