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Trump's Border Wall Faces Obstacles    03/27 06:11

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he 
wants in the "big, beautiful wall" that he's promised to build on the 
U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge barrier to those attempting 
to enter the U.S. illegally faces impediments of its own.

   It's still not clear how Trump will pay for the wall that, as described in 
contracting notices, would be 30 feet (9 meters) high and easy on the eye for 
those looking at it from the north. The Trump administration will also have to 
contend with unfavorable geography and many legal battles.

   A look at some of those obstacles:

   MONEY

   Trump promised that Mexico would pay for his wall, a demand Mexico has 
repeatedly rejected. Trump's first budget proposal to Congress, a preliminary 
draft that was light on details, asked lawmakers for a $2.6 billion down 
payment for the wall. An internal report prepared for Homeland Security 
Secretary John Kelly estimated that a wall along the entire border would cost 
about $21 billion. Congressional Republicans have estimated a more moderate 
price tag of $12 billion to $15 billion. Trump himself has suggested a cost of 
about $12 billion.

   It's unclear how much money Congress will approve. Lawmakers have been 
balking at his plans to sharply cut other federal spending to pay for the wall 
and other boosts to border security, while increasing military spending. White 
House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters this past week that the 
administration was still looking at how the wall would be funded, adding that 
it hasn't given up on Mexico footing the bill.

   ___

   GEOGRAPHY

   Roughly half of the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) U.S.-Mexico border is in 
Texas and marked by the winding and twisting Rio Grande. A 1970 treaty with 
Mexico requires that anything built near that river not obstruct its flow. The 
same treaty applies to a stretch of border in Arizona, where the Colorado River 
marks the international boundary.

   Some fencing that is already in place along the frontier is built well off 
the river, in some places nearly a mile (about a kilometer) away from the 
border.

   Trump will have to navigate not only the treaty maintained by the 
International Boundary and Water Commission but also various environmental 
regulations that protect some stretches of border and restrict what kind of 
structures can be built and where. The contracting notices of March 17 say the 
Trump administration wants the wall dug at least 6 feet (almost 2 meters) into 
the ground. Along parts of the border in California, environmentally sensitive 
sand dunes required that a "floating fence" was built to allow the natural 
movement of the sand.

   ___

   LEGAL CHALLENGES

   Nearly all of the land along the Texas border is privately held --- much of 
it by people whose families have been in the region for generations --- and 
buying their land won't be easy, as Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama 
discovered. Lawyers for both administrations fought in court with private 
landowners. Obama's efforts to buy privately held land in the Rio Grande Valley 
have carried over into Trump's term.

   The Trump administration appears to be preparing for the legal fight and 
included a request for more lawyers to handle such cases in its budget 
proposal. Spicer said this past week the administration would "take the steps 
necessary" to fulfill Trump's promise to secure the southern border.


(KA)

 
 
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