An internal report on Trump’s Mexico Wall promise, previously reported by Reuters, estimated that fully walling off or fencing the entire southern border would cost $21.6bn – $9.3m per mile of fence and $17.8m per mile of wall.
But so far, the Department of Homeland Security -DHS – has identified only $20m that can be redirected to the multibillion-dollar project, according to a document prepared by the agency and distributed to congressional budget staff last week.
So Trump only has to come up with $21.580 billion more from taxpayers. Should be a snap.
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan has said he will include funding for a border wall in the budget for the next fiscal year. He has estimated the cost to be between $12bn and $15billion.
Many Republican lawmakers have said they would vote against a plan that does not offset the cost of the wall with spending cuts.
In the document it submitted to Congress, the DHS said it would reallocate $5m from a fence project in Naco, Arizona, that came in under budget and $15m from a project to install cameras on top of trucks at the border.
The surveillance project was awarded to Virginia-based Tactical Micro but was held up due to protests from other contractors, according to the DHS document. Tactical Micro could not be reached for comment.
The DHS only searched for extra funds within its $376m budget for border security fencing, infrastructure and technology, so it would not have to ask for congressional approval to repurpose funding, according to the document.
Contractors cannot begin bidding to develop prototypes until March 6 but more than 265 businesses already have listed themselves as “interested parties” on a government web site.
Those interested range from small businesses to large government contractors such as Raytheon.