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13 February 2017, 12:51 | Ella Tate
Trump's proposed US-Mexico border wall to cost $21 billion: Report
President Donald Trump's border wall will cost around $21.6 billion, well above previous estimates from Republicans, and take more than three years to build, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security obtained by Reuters.
Trump, in two tweets Saturday, promised that he would bargain the cost of the wall "way down", according to a Washington Post report.
Reuterssaidthe report lays out a three-pronged approach to get the wall completed.
US-Mexican relations have plunged since Trump's pronouncements on the border wall, prompting Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a scheduled meeting with the new US leader.
DHS said in a statement, "As a matter of policy, we do not comment on or confirm the potential existence of pre-decisional, deliberative documents".
A new report from the Department of Homeland Security, unearthed by Reuters, contains a far higher estimate: $21.6 billion.
The issue has infuriated Mexico, whose president has vowed his country will not pay for a wall, which Trump insists the country will fund.
The next day, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the wall would be funded through placing a 20 per cent tax on all imports from Mexico, a move that would likely hit United States consumers.
Building a wall on the US-Mexico border to stop the influx of refugees and undocumented migrants coming from Central and Latin America was a hallmark of Trump's presidential campaign. It called for the first phase of construction to begin in San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.
The border wall was one of Trump's main campaign promises.
The document also revealed that the USA government has begun to coordinate with existing contractors, plan for steel purchases and seek waivers for environmental laws.
The report reflects an expectation the funding would be authorized this spring and construction would begin by September.
The border, which is about 1,900 miles long, already has some fences in the area. Covering 26 miles it would cost an estimated $360 million (£289 million).
Bernstein Research, an investment research group that tracks material costs, said that uncertainties around the project could drive its cost up to as much as $25 billion (£20 billion).
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