Today’s note comes from Ted:
Hi Brian, I am for a border wall and strong immigration policy. I want to allow immigrants into our country, but it is important that they do it legally, so that we know who they are.
I often wonder why President Trump didn't build the wall when he had full control of the house and senate? It would have easily passed then. Correct?
Why didn't he push the wall through in the first two years of his presidency?
Bottom Line: There hasn't been a more frequent question than this one in the past year. So, with the State of the Union address putting this conversation back in the front and center of the American collective. Here’s my answer.
One of the great misconceptions of the past couple of years is that no border wall funding was approved. Commonly critics of the border wall will ask why wasn’t it funded when Republicans had control of Congress. The answer is that they did pass through funding to continue projects to repair the existing wall, add to the existing wall and create prototypes for the remainder of the border wall. Currently, the US has 654 miles of physical barriers on the southern border, that’s 33% of the entire southern border that now has a physical barrier. Work is ongoing to replace 280 miles of the existing border wall/fencing.
Now, you might recall President Trump talking about the need to fix and modernize parts of the existing wall. That's what's happening right now and what’s been mostly worked on over the past year and a half. The administration prioritized reinforcing the existing walls and fences prior to expansion. The project was/is extensive covering a total of 280 miles. The President’s priority now is to obtain funding for the actual expansion of the southern border wall. That’s what’s not currently funded.
The $5.7 billion he’s asked for would provide an additional 234 miles of a physical border off of the existing renovated wall upon completion. That would lead to about exactly half of the total need for a physical barrier at the southern border being completed over the next two years.
The answer is that it has been funded and has been on track up to now. The appropriations process that we’re currently in runs through the end of the fiscal year in September. The wall project is projected to come to halt before then if additional funding isn’t in place. As for the reason as to why the Republican congress didn’t just approve the full amount up front, Republicans held only 51 seats in the Senate and Democrats filibustered the full funding in a lump sum. Republicans were successful in getting two smaller installments through the Senate that had been ongoing for the past year and a half.
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