14:10 GMT11 August 2020
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    Few are surprised that Trump’s grandstanding campaign promise is turning into a grandiose “boondoggle” that may never be constructed.

    A new report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that US President Donald Trump's much-desired wall spanning the 2000-mile border between the US and Mexico will cost far more than initial estimates. 

    In March, the US Congress passed a spending bill which included $1.6 billion in appropriations to begin building small sections of the border wall, a number for lower than the $25 billion sought by the Trump administration.

    According to the new GOA report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not accurately estimate costs for the wall nor did they follow correct acquisition protocols.

    The government branch was unsparing in its criticism of the Trump administration plan. "DHS plans to spend billions of dollars developing and deploying new barriers along the southwest border," the GAO said in a report released Monday.

    "However, by proceeding without key information on cost, acquisition baselines, and the contributions of previous barrier and technology deployments, DHS faces an increased risk that the Border Wall System Program will cost more than projected, take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected."

    The Trump administration, according to the report, is currently wasting billions of dollars and will likely waste many billions more, particularly as the CBP has not evaluated location or cost of building each segment.

    "Without assessing costs when prioritizing locations for future barriers, CBP does not have complete information to determine whether it is using its limited resources in the most cost-effective manner and does not have important cost information that would help it develop future budget requests."

    Without factual information, building, design and maintenance costs cannot be estimated, inferred the GOA report.

    "Without documenting plans to require CBP to follow the DHS acquisition process for the San Diego barrier segment, DHS may not establish cost, schedule, and performance goals by which it can measure the program's progress," the report observed.

    Rep. Bennie Thompson, a top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, recently told the Washington Post that the Trump administration is "rushing the construction of the president's completely unnecessary border ‘wall.'"

    "In moving too fast, [ the Trump administration has] ignored necessary and established acquisitions protocols," she added, cited by the Washington Post.

    Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told the Washington Post that he agrees "100 percent" with the assertion that the DHS has not done enough research regarding Trump's border wall.

    Judd believes, however, that a Trump-sponsored government shutdown as a means to see the president's immigration agenda forced through could result in the administration receiving the funding it seeks.

    "If a government shutdown would give us the border security that is necessary, I'm absolutely for it," Judd said, cited by the Washington Post. 

    Homeland Security Committee member Thompson disagrees, however, pointing out that "shutting down the government would be irresponsible […] congressional Republicans [should] not give in to their president's demands for his boondoggle border wall."

    A bill introduced by US Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Tuesday is attempting to force Mexico to pay for the US wall on its northern border, at least in part ‒ a proposal long demanded by Trump.

    Biggs' "Fund and Complete the Border Wall Act" would seek to place fines on Mexico and other countries whose citizens seek to enter the United States illegally — to the tune of $2,000 per head. It would work by cutting that amount from foreign aid and redirecting it toward the wall, Sputnik reported earlier.

    Some 400,000 undocumented immigrants are caught entering the US every year. According to the math contained within the bill, passage of the act would raise a optimistically-projected $800 million annually, as reported by the Washington Examiner.

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    Tags:
    immigration, wall, border, Donald Trump, Mexico, United States
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