DHS Report Details Border Wall Construction, Cost

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WESLACO - The new administration plans to start expanding the border fence along the Rio Grande Valley.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to a Reuters reporter who helped outline a report not yet released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. We wanted to know about the financing of the wall and how its construction might unfold.

The DHS report estimates it will take four years to put a fence along the whole border. It also suggested the wall be built in phases.

Reuters criminal justice correspondent Julia Ainsely said the agency plans to start breaking ground in El Paso, San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley.  The 26-mile stretch will be part of Phase 1.

“This gives us as estimate of what that would be, and it gives us an idea of where they want to start first,” he said.

According to Ainsely, the report showed the cost of the project mounted to $21.6 billion.

“A big uptick in that price is the fact that they are now accounting for in this report, going to court to have to seek control over private land, and what they would have to do to get access roads,” she said.

The Reuters reporter said details and complications like those can drive up the cost even more. However, she said the report is not considered a final plan.

“It’s not clear if Secretary Kelly or President Trump would really go through with walling off or fencing off the entire border,” she said.

DHS Secretary Kelly and President Trump would have to sign off on the second phase which proposes expanding the fence to more than 151 miles in the Valley, Laredo, El Paso, the Big Bend and Arizona.

Ainsely said Phase 3 proposes to essentially cover the remaining border. The wall, as proposed, would be complete by the end of 2020. 


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