Trump's Big Beautiful Wall Is Already Running Billions Over Budget

President Trump has doubled down on one of his more controversial campaign promises: his plan to build a wall spanning the length of the U.S. -Mexico border to curb illegal immigration.

In late January of this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the wall would cost $12 to 15 billion.

Reuters on Thursday published details of an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security that estimated the price of a wall along the entire border at $21.6 billion.

Reuters also reports that the US government has already begun seeking waivers for environmental laws which govern construction in some of the environmentally sensitive areas of the border, as well as negotiating with existing contractors over steel purchases.

To be sure, this is not the final plan, and this plan may not be adopted, but DHS Secretary John Kelly is expected to see the report in the coming days, according to Reuters. The report assumes funding would be granted by April or May, and that construction could commence in September. With 654 miles (1,046 kilometers) of the border already fortified, the new construction would extend nearly the length of the entire border.

During his campaign, Trump also characterized Mexican migrants living in the United States as murderers and rapists and pledged to build a wall that he said Mexico would pay for.

DHS said in a statement, "As a matter of policy, we do not comment on or confirm the potential existence of pre-decisional, deliberative documents". "'77% of refugees allowed into USA since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries, '" the president said in a series of Twitter posts.

The question for Republicans in Congress and the president is how far they are willing to go in busting the budget to get the wall built?

But Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and two former presidents of Mexico have emphasized the country will not pay for it.

Addressing county sheriffs at the White House on Wednesday, he said: "The wall is getting designed right now".

House Speaker Paul Ryan said last month that the project could cost $8 billion to $14 billion. However, much of that land is privately owned, inaccessible by road or is comprised of challenging terrain where it would may not be feasible to build a wall, like mountains or the middle of rivers.

  • Archie Newman