3/9/2017 Voice of America
U.S. President Donald Trump is weighing funding cuts for the country’s Coast Guard, its natural disaster emergency agency, and airport security arm so he will have money to start building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and crack down on illegal immigration.
Trump vowed during his run to the White House to build the 3,200-kilometer wall to thwart illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central American.
But now, Trump is faced with finding money to fund the massive project. He has estimated the wall would cost $12 billion, although the Homeland Security Agency says the cost could be as much as $21.6 billion.
Figures released Wednesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials show a 40 percent drop in illegal border crossings from January to February at the country’s southern border as measured by apprehensions. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement that since Trump took office January 20 there has been a dramatic drop in the numbers of those trying to cross illegally into the United States.
Although Trump has yet to present a government budget proposal to Congress, a draft of his spending priorities related to the wall is circulating among Washington officials for their comments, with vocal opposition expected from the agencies targeted for funding cuts.