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US budget to include $3b for border wall
February 10, 2018
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WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s budget proposal to be unveiled on Monday will include a request for $3 billion as a down payment on building a wall along the US border with Mexico, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

The official, who briefed a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said the money would go towards purchasing private land in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas and advance purchases of steel.

The administration hopes to build 96km of new steel bollard fencing along the border with 2018 funding and an additional 103km with 2019 funding.

The $3 billion will be on top of this year’s $14 billion request for the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

The border wall was a signature issue for Trump in his 2016 presidential election campaign. He pledged that Mexico would pay for the wall, which the Mexican government has insisted it will not do.

Democrats sharply oppose the wall, which Trump has said is aimed at keeping out illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.

The new fencing would be constructed in areas known to be used by migrants crossing into the United States, the official said.

Wall funding has been caught up in a debate over how to protect young “Dreamers,” people who were brought to the country illegally as children.

Trump has offered to give the Dreamers protection from deportation and a pathway to citizenship over 10 to 12 years, in exchange for $25 billion in wall funding and tightened restrictions on legal immigration, but Democrats have balked at the terms.

Earlier it is reported that a border patrol agent whose mysterious death prompted Trump to renew his call for a wall along the US-Mexico border appears to have died as the result of an accident, according to an FBI probe.

An FBI investigation into the November 2017 death of agent Rogelio Martinez has not found any evidence of foul play.

Reuters/AFP

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