$1.3B Border Barrier Spending to Avert Government Shutdown
February 14, 2019
Embraced by Trump, a border wall spending deal averted another round of government shutdown. CNN lists what entails in the spending:
$1.375 billion will cover roughly 55 miles of new barrier strategically placed -- including parts of the Rio Grande Valley, which had been a priority for the White House.
The 55 miles is twice the amount allocated in the last spending agreement, but 10 miles less than the bipartisan Senate Homeland Security funding bill from 2018 that Trump rejected.
The language and restrictions on the barrier itself are similar to what lawmakers have proposed in the past -- and had rejected by the President. This falls short of the 200 miles of steel-and-concrete wall/$5.7 billion that Mr. Trump demanded.
Also, the deal prohibits the use of concrete walls. Only "existing technologies" for border barriers can be built. Bollard fencing is the most likely material to be used for any new barrier, aides say, but steel slats previously proposed, are technically an option.
Democrats view detention beds as harsh and needlessly aggressive. Republicans view the detention beds as central to limiting the ability of detained undocumented immigrants from being released into the US as they await hearings. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will provide enough money for 42,774 adult and 2,500 child beds with the goal of reducing that number to approximately 40,250 by the end of September.
The White House has the ability to move some money in the bill without a congressional blessing in order to provide more money for the wall or more detention beds. Thus, the total number of beds could go as high as 52,000, though there is no technical limit on the amount.
The Democrats' demand for a cap on interior detention beds, at 16,500, was dropped in the final agreement.
Overall spending for the Department of Homeland Security increases to $1.7 billion, primarily for technology, ports of entry security, customs officers and humanitarian aid.
The deal secured Trump’s consent as he hinted that he has “’options that most people don’t understand’ to build his border wall without congressional approval.” Meanwhile, democrats and Republicans on the House-Senate panel showed willingness to compromise, not far apart on a plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security in order to boost personnel, technology and other efforts of securing the Southwest border.