Another chunk of President Donald Trump’s border wall is being built in Texas now that the federal government has given out a contract for the work.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has awarded a $167 million contract for eight miles of border wall in south Texas, according to The Associated Press. The firm SLSCO, based in Galveston, won the contract. The same firm is also building six miles of wall near McAllen, Texas, under a previously awarded $145 million contract.
The work on this section of the wall is planned to begin in February.
Construction will include fencing on the north side of the Rio Grande, clearing vegetation and increased lighting and patrol roads.
Trump has made the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico one of his top priorities.
“We need the money to build the wall, the whole wall, not pieces of it,” Trump said last week, according to KFGO. “We need the wall, many Democrats know we need the wall, and we’re just going to have to see what happens.”
Funding for future work on the wall is one of the major issues between Republican and Democratic lawmakers trying to iron out a spending bill. Senate Republicans have put $5 billion in their latest budget draft and are eying more.
“I think everybody wants to do border wall funding in a bigger way,” said Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.
“We all know the president wants a significant amount of wall funding,” Thune said, according to the Washington Examiner. “We’ll see how badly the Democrats want to get a deal at the end of the year.”
Democrats don’t want to give the project a dime without getting something back in return, according to Politico.
That something could be a resolution over what to do with the children of illegal immigrants allowed to remain in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“You have two problems, you have a gap in funding between the House and Senate on the wall,” South Carolina’s Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “And you might as well go ahead and deal with (DACA) at the same time. You’ve got to give something to get something. You’ll get your wall money if you do something on DACA.”
The contentious posturing between the two sides has led to talk of a government shutdown by Dec. 7 if an agreement is not reached.
“Is (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer going to shut down the government over border security? Strikes me as a bad idea,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. Democratic votes are needed because the current Senate majority does not give a budget bill the 60 votes needed for passage.
As the future is built in Texas and funding is debated in Washington, American soldiers were busy in California making the Tijuana section of the current border barrier strong enough for the projected impact of a migrant caravan making its way north through Mexico.
Border Patrol officials said four lanes at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry in San Diego, California were being closed “to install and pre-position port hardening infrastructure equipment in preparation for the migrant caravan and the potential safety and security risk that it could cause,” according to the AP.
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