March 09, 2017

Trump Weighs Paying for His Wall by Gutting National Security

By Katherine Kidder

Source: Vanity Fair

Journalist(s) Tina Nguyen

Beyond his fantastical claim that Mexico would pay for his promised border wall, Donald Trump has never provided a satisfying explanation for how he would fund its construction. None of his proposals to squeeze money from Mexico seem realistic: the possibility of an import tax was quickly walked back by the White House, while Trump’s past threats to withhold remittances from Mexicans living in the United States went nowhere. The Mexican government itself has flatly refused to pay for Trump’s wall. More recently, the Trump administration has acknowledged that taxpayers will foot the bill, leaving open the possibility that Mexico might somehow pay the U.S. back later, whether via a border-adjustment tax or some other renegotiation on the terms of trade between the two countries.

The latest Trump plan appears to involve reshuffling the federal budget to find the estimated $21.6 billion needed for construction of the border wall. But according to draft documents reviewed by Politico, the administration is going about realizing his plans—which he says will keep undocumented immigrants, criminals, and potential terrorists from crossing into the U.S. from Mexico—in a remarkably self-defeating way.

The preliminary numbers outlined by the Office of Management and Budget suggests the Trump administration would pay for the wall by slashing the budgets of several other agencies, including the Coast Guard (14 percent), the Transportation Security Administration (11 percent), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (11 percent), all of which are focused on protecting Americans from national security and environmental threats. Instead, the White House budget would prioritize the protection of land-based borders and new funding for expanded immigration enforcement—including an additional $3 billion for Customs and Border Protection, $2.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and billions more for the construction of various walls, fences, and deportation centers.

Read the full article at Vanity Fair.

  • Katherine Kidder