The Defense Department has decided not to move forward with three border-barrier projects in California and Arizona, indicating that the estimated $2.5 billion cost of the 20 miles of planned construction would be too high.
Funding for the projects — three 30-foot-high barriers on the U.S.–Mexico border — was originally allocated from a counter-drug initiative, which the Pentagon approved pending final analysis of cost projections. That analysis found that the cost would be prohibitive, according to a Monday court filing in Washington, D.C.
President Trump has struggled to free up funding to build and renovate barriers on the southern border, an issue that was central to his 2016 campaign. This past January, he led the longest government shutdown in U.S. history after Democrats refused to include funding for border barriers in the 2019 budget. The budget was eventually passed without the funding, at which point Trump declared a national emergency in order obtain funds for the barriers from the Pentagon. House Democrats have mounted legal challenges to the national-emergency declaration, so far without success.
As of late August, the Trump administration has renovated 60 miles of fences, walls, and other border infrastructure.