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President Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall is expected to cost more than $20 billion and will take up to three years to construct, according to the United States government.
A draft internal assessment report, shown to Reuters, was the work of a dedicated group within the Department of Homeland Security and is expected to be presented to the public by Secretary John Kelly within days. It details a three-phase plan to physically seal the southern border with a combination of fortified walls and fences. In the end, the construction will stretch 1,250 miles.
The report looks set to form the basis of Kelly’s request for funding from Congress. Already the U.S. government has reportedly been seeking waivers to address the environmental laws for different sections of land and contacting contractors in order to purchase steel and materials for the project.
Once the budget is secured, which the report estimates to be around April or May, the Trump administration hopes to begin the building project.
The estimated cost of the ambitious project comes it at $21.6 billion, that’s almost twice the $12 billion that Trump had originally claimed. Part of the reason for this, according to the commissioned report, is that the new figure accounts for the acquisition of private land and various legal processes necessary for the wall’s construction.
During the presidential campaign, Trump had also insisted that Mexico would pay for the wall. He now expects to front the full cost with U.S. taxpayer money and recuperate it all with taxes and levies. Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto, insists that his country will not be paying for the barrier.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.