Lawmakers questioning administration's funding request for border wall

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) says he wants to see the border funding to go toward new technology and...
Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) says he wants to see the border funding to go toward new technology and personnel, not a physical barrier. (GRAYDC)
Published: Mar. 31, 2017 at 1:19 PM CDT
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President Donald Trump wants nearly $1 billion to begin constructing his border wall. Lawmakers on the border are asking questions about exactly what that money will go toward. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) says the administration needs to justify its request.

“$999 million was for border wall construction, and that’s pretty vague,” said Hurd.

In a supplemental funding request, the president is asking Capitol Hill to help begin constructing the southern border wall, one of his key campaign promises. Hurd sent a letter to the administration asking exactly how the president is going to spend the money.

“I still believe that building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” said Hurd.

Hurd says if the money goes toward new technology and personnel rather than a physical wall, he is in. If it’s for thousands of miles of literal wall, he is out.

“(The) Department of Homeland Security can benefit from additional resources, but the money needs to be spent wisely and in a way that’s actually going to secure our border,” said Hurd.

This request from the administration is just the tip of the iceberg for what the total cost of the wall will be. Hurd says the country is already in a financial crunch, but supporters of the wall say it needs to be built no matter the cost.

“What is the cost of doing nothing? We know what that cost is also. It’s $113 billion a year. That’s what it costs the country for services to illegal immigrants,” said Dave Ray, communications director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

He says he understands that a physical wall being constructed from coast to coast is not realistic, but he still wants a lot more money to sink into border security to serve as a deterrent.

“If they think it’s going to be nearly impossible to get in, many of them simply won’t try. That’s half the battle right there,” said Ray.

Congress will continue to mull over the president’s proposal, and create the official budget, over the coming weeks.