Report: US-Mexico border wall set to cost $21.6B, take 3-plus years to build
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report concluded the U.S.-Mexico border wall could cost as much as $21.6 billion and would take nearly four years to build, according to Reuters.
The report concluded that the border wall would be a “series of fences and walls” covering more than 1,250 miles. It would be completed in three phases of construction. Nearly 700 miles of the border is already protected by a wall.
The first phase of construction would build a wall near San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; and in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, Reuters reported. The second phase would add an additional 151 miles in southwestern areas, including Tucson. The third phase would cover the remaining 1,080 miles.
President Donald Trump repeatedly estimated the border wall would cost $12 billion, would be paid for by taxpayers and Mexico would pay us back in full through trade agreements and taxes.
The department pointed to the uncertainties surrounding the construction of the wall, including purchasing private land to construct it on and purchasing supplies to build it, as the main reason for the steep price increase.
Mexican lawmakers, including President Enrique Pena Nieto, have stated the country will not pay for the wall.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in January that Congress would enact legislation this year to pay up to $15 billion to construct the wall.
A January poll found that more than half of registered voters in Arizona oppose the wall and the proposed tax to fund it.
Despite lacking the funds to construct the wall, the report found that the government has already begun to work with existing contractors for the project.
Reuters said the DHS report is expected to be presented to department head John Kelly “in coming days.” Kelly visited Arizona on Thursday, where he met with state Gov. Doug Ducey and toured the border in Nogales.
Representatives for both DHS and the White House did not provide a comment on the report.