Pentagon Refuses Funding for 20-Miles of Border Barrier Due to Cost

A mounted detachment of the U.S. Border Patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Calexico, Calif., October 26, 2018. (Earnie Grafton/Reuters)

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.

Most Popular

White House

More Evidence the Guardrails Are Gone

At the end of last month, just as the news of the Ukraine scandal started dominating the news cycle, I argued that we're seeing evidence that the guardrails that staff had placed around Donald Trump's worst instincts were in the process of breaking down. When Trump's staff was at its best, it was possible to draw ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More

Is America Becoming Sinicized?

A little over 40 years ago, Chinese Communist strongman and reformer Deng Xiaoping began 15 years of sweeping economic reforms. They were designed to end the disastrous, even murderous planned economy of Mao Zedong, who died in 1976. The results of Deng’s revolution astonished the world. In four decades, ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More
National Review


Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More