SAN ANTONIO – Plans for a border wall prototype are under review, even as support on Capitol Hill and estimates on how much it would cost, vary widely.
“There are proposals for a $1 billion, $21 billion, $40 million,” said Scott Nicol, a longtime border fence opponent in the Rio Grande Valley.
But Nicol said it’s still unknown where the wall could be built, leaving property owners along the border in limbo.
He said unlike the first phase of the border fence years ago under President George W. Bush, this latest proposal is not about border security.
CONTINUING COVERAGE: Proposal for border wall met with bipartisan pushback
Nicol said it’s about money and politics.
He said, “On the one hand, you’ve got people that are hoping to make a lot of money off of it. On the other hand, you’ve got politicians who are trying to get re-elected based on it.”
Among the panelists Monday at the University of Texas A&M-San Antonio for a forum titled “Militarizing the Border,” Nicol said he’s not surprised there’s doubt on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.
He said anyone who is concerned about the way federal dollars are being spent will look hard at the proposals that have been submitted.
“If we’re not keeping a close eye on all this money that will be flowing out of federal government coffers and into their pockets, there’s going to be a lot of waste,” Nicol said.
He also said President Trump’s push to fulfill a campaign promise of “a big, beautiful wall,” but without Mexico paying for it, comes at a time when border apprehensions are at record lows, down 64 percent.
“That really undermines the whole basis for it,” Nicol said.
Immigrant advocates said many more people are staying in their home countries because of Trump’s hard line stance on immigration.
“Why would we throw billions of dollars at stopping people who aren’t coming in the first place?” Nicol said.
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