White House requests $13bn to build Trump’s border wall

The White House is asking for $18 billion (£13 billion) from Capitol Hill to fund the US-Mexico border wall, Donald Trump’s signature campaign promise.

If granted, the money would pay for 316 miles of new fencing and reinforce another 407 miles where barriers are already in place. The entire border stretches almost 2,000 miles, although much of it is already impassable. 

The request forms part of a $33 billion, 10-year package to tighten up homeland security with the remaining $15 billion going to fund “critical physical border security requirements" such as technology, personnel and roads.

According to reports, the blueprint allocates $8.5 billion over seven years for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and other officials; $5.7bn for towers, surveillance equipment and other technology; $1bn for road construction and maintenance.

In return for the cash, the Trump administration will be expected to discuss a way forward for the so-called dreamers – illegal immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents and know no other country. 

Protesters supporting the so-called Dreamers outside the White House in September 2017Credit:
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Under the Obama presidency, they were given protection from repatriation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act, known as DACA. 

Mr Trump announced the end of that programme last year and has said he will not sign a fix granting "amnesty" to DACA recipients without action to secure the border first.

Negotiations over the wall’s funding will form part of broader budget negotiations in the coming weeks that if not resolved could see a government shutdown.

Sen Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Immigration subcommittee, said in a statement: “President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction.

"I’ve been clear from the beginning that Senate Democrats will consider reasonable border security measures in order to pass the Dream Act into law. 

Mexico has steadfastly refused to contribute and the spending plan indicates American taxpayers would fund it for at least the foreseeable future.

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