Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trump's 'big, beautiful' wall gets downsized to a couple of 'high priority' areas (gabe Ortiz) · Monday, April 24, 2017, 6:35 pm

Donald Trump is desperate to get the ball rolling on his precious border wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for—but in reality could lead to a government shutdown. So maybe that’s why he wants “to start with a much less ambitious footprint” for that “big, beautiful” wall and focus “only on the most highly trafficked corridors” to start with. The price tag? More than $3 billion:

Identified as “high priority” in the document are the border sectors of the Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of Texas -- encompassing Rio Grande City, McAllen and Weslaco -- as well as El Paso, Tucson and San Diego.

The areas were selected because of their proximity to urban centers and roads, allowing those who cross to vanish quickly, according to the document, which was made public by congressional committee staffers.

The preliminary plan anticipates adding more than 100 new miles of wall over the next two years, on top of the 700 miles of fencing that already exists, at an initial cost of more than $3.6 billion.

The wall, even on a smaller scope than billed during the campaign, is a sticking point in high-stakes budget negotiations to avert a government shutdown this week.

Trump himself weighed in Monday, tweeting: "The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)!"

Except most southwest border residents think otherwise, with a poll last year finding that 72 percent of Americans who live in the region opposed building a wall. “The wall might make mid-America feel safer,” one expert said at the time, “but for those of us that live on the border, it’s not making us feel any safer when we know that people can go over it, around it, under it and through it.” Says Rio Grande City Mayor Joel Villarreal: “Donald Trump sold a seamless wall as the solution to our immigration problems, but a wall is more symbolic. I don’t believe it’s going to produce statistically significant results.”


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