Trump administration ramps up funding for border wall
President Donald Trump on Monday signed a $1.5 billion plan to build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, setting off a scramble to complete the $1 trillion project in the next year.
The president also signed an executive order for the Department of Homeland Security to hire 10,000 new Border Patrol agents, which he said will help prevent drug smuggling and cross-border crime.
He also signed orders directing the department to begin a review of the cost of building the border wall.
“We will not rest until our border is secure, and we will work together with Congress to ensure we are building it in a way that is in the best interest of our nation and our citizens,” Trump said in a statement announcing the border funding.
“This is a critical step in our efforts to secure the border, and I look forward to signing this executive order soon.”
The president’s decision to sign an order directing the departments to begin the review of costs was not the first time Trump has pushed for border funding, but it was a stark departure from his usual rhetoric.
While Trump has previously called for a wall to be built along the entire U.s.-Mexico boundary, he has rarely used that term.
While it’s not clear how much the wall will cost, it is expected to cost between $8 billion and $12 billion.
While the president has not said whether he will fund a wall along his proposed border wall, the wall has been a top concern for Republicans.
Republicans in Congress have pushed for the wall to cost anywhere from $20 billion to $30 billion, but many Democrats have questioned the cost and questioned how long it will take to build the wall.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said last month that it is moving forward with building the wall but that it would not be ready for prime time until late 2019.
The department has also asked Congress for more than $200 billion in aid to help with construction of the wall, but that money is being withheld until 2019, when the 2018 federal budget expires.