President Donald Trump will ask Congress for $33 billion in new border security spending, including $18 billion for more than 700 miles of “new and replacement barriers,” The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
If approved, the plan would expand the existing 654 miles of barrier to a length of almost 1,000 miles, or enough to cover about half of the American southwest border.
But the request doesn’t actually foresee the installment of the “big, beautiful wall” Trump has promised over and over again, at least according to one senator who spoke with Trump about it. Instead, the money will cover a combo of fences, vehicle barricades, personnel and miscellaneous types of technology, according to Senator James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma, who met with Trump at the White House Thursday.
“People want to paint that it’s some 2,000-mile long, 30-foot-high wall of concrete. That’s not what he means and not what he tries to say,” Lankford said, in comments reported by The Hill and confirmed by Lankford’s spokesman to VICE News.
Trump wants the money in exchange for an immigration deal that would include some kind of resolution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Obama-era initiative protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation that’s now in danger of being repealed by the Trump administration.
“The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc,” Trump tweeted on December 29. “We must protect our Country at all cost!”
The details of what Trump will really ask for, though, are laid out in a document drawn up by the Department of Homeland Security for senators who asked the administration for details, according to the Journal.
“There’s going to be border fencing in some areas, there’s going to be vehicular barricades, there’s going to be technology, there’s going to be greater manpower in some areas,” Lankford said, adding Trump has been clear that a big, concrete, 2,200-mile wall will not actually be necessary “in private.”