Construction for the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border will begin by this summer, says Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
Kelly appeared with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Fox News to give an update about the border wall’s status and illegal border crossings.
“I think by late spring, early summer, we’ll have some prototypes and then we’ll be able to move forward by into the summer,” Kelly told host Martha MacCallum. “We’re going to get it as quick as we can.”
Kelly said that about 100 companies are putting together the wall prototypes which will be presented to the DHS for review, despite the “complicated” business of contracting for the government.
Kelly also said that illegal border crossings have plummeted 70 percent since Trump’s inauguration, noting that some fencing already in place has been “remarkably effective in keeping down the amount of illegal movement across the two borders.”
“We’re at about a fifteen, sixteen-year low, and frankly we haven’t done all that much yet,” he pointed out.
Despite meeting resistance from Democrats about including the wall’s cost into the massive 2017 budgetary spending bill being prepared by Congress, Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney insists that funds for the wall will be included.
“We want wall funding. We want [immigration] agents. Those are our priorities,” Mulvaney told the Associated Press. “We know there are a lot of people on the Hill, especially in the Democratic Party, who don’t like the wall, but they lost the election.”
“And the president should, I think, at least have the opportunity to fund one of his highest priorities in the first funding bill of his administration.”
The proposed border is estimated to cost about $ 15-22 billion and will take around 3.5 years to build to cover just over 1,250 miles, according to an internal DHS report obtained by Reuters.