The U.S.-Mexican border in Sasabe, Ariz. (Phillip Capper / CC 2.0)
The release of President Trump’s budget proposal earlier this week has drawn criticism across the political spectrum for a variety of reasons, and many are focused on potential massive cuts to federal agencies.
What’s not getting a budget cut, however, is the president’s controversial wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. Politico reports:
Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the president would request $1.5 billion in a supplemental spending bill and $2.6 billion in his fiscal year 2018 budget. The combined $4.1 billion in spending is considerably greater than previous estimates on a down payment for the wall, but well short of its estimated total cost of $22 billion. …
“We wrote it using the president’s own words,” he said during a call with reporters. “We went through his speeches, we went through articles that have been written about his policies … and we turned those policies into numbers.”
Trump himself spoke about the wall during a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, telling his audience that it’s construction is “way ahead of schedule.”
This “schedule” however, has not been made public, leaving many observers wondering who will build the wall and how soon construction will actually begin.
In fact, the construction itself may be laced with irony: Quartz reports that Mexicans and Mexican-Americans “will be vying for a piece of that business.”
“Of the roughly 700 firms that have already expressed interest in bidding to build the prototypes, about 10% are Hispanic-owned, per data from the government’s procurement system,” Quartz states. “Hispanics also make up nearly 30% of the US’s construction workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Near the border (where most US Hispanics are of Mexican descent), they’re an even larger share.”
Trump is facing increasing resistance from fellow Republicans in Congress, however. According to The Washington Post:
Key GOP senators expressed concerns this week about who would foot the bill for the wall, with some bluntly voicing doubts that Mexico will cover it, as Trump has vowed. Even among those open to the idea of a wall, many spoke about it in less than enthusiastic tones.
“I don’t care at all as long as Mexico’s paying for it – it’s neither here nor there for me,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), whose state has a nearly 400-mile border with Mexico. “But if we’re paying for it, it’s a significant concern.”
And while Washington politicians continue to discuss the long-term construction project, both Mexican and American businesses are suffering from Trump’s pro-wall rhetoric.
“Basically, we are going to see another recession,” one San Diego-based shop owner told Al Jazeera. “I don’t even check my books. There’s no point getting more depressed.”