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Government Shutdown over Border Wall Funding

January 18, 2019

One of candidate Donald Trump’s signature campaign promises was to build a wall on the Mexico-US border, and one of President Trump’s first executive orders directed the Department of Homeland Security to plan for a wall on the Mexico-US border. DHS in 2017-18 commissioned several prototypes of the wall, and improved fences and walls on the 700 miles of the 2,000 mile border that already have barriers aimed to deter the unauthorized entry of people and vehicles.

Trump said the border wall would cost $25 billion, and that Mexico would pay for the wall. The Mexican government refused to pay, prompting Trump to assert that the revised NAFTA, the USMCA trade agreement, was beneficial to the US, so that Mexico was paying for the wall via changes in the trade agreement.

Congress failed to appropriate the $5 billion demanded for the wall in FY19, leading to a shutdown of nine of the 15 federal agencies December 22, 2018. The House in December 2018 approved $5.7 billion for the wall, but the Senate did not, and the shutdown soon persisted three weeks, the longest in modern history.

There are 25 ports of entry on the Mexico-US border. Apprehensions for foreigners intercepted between these ports of entry peaked in FY2000 at over 1.6 million, and today are about 400,000 a year.

A third of the 2,000 mile Mexico-US border is fenced (red); black dots are ports of entry

Source: DHS

Current fencing on the Mexico-US border in California

Source: DHS

Repairing the current fence

Source: DHS