The border wall project seems to be no more a priority for either Congress or the White House. Congress will not include any funds for the wall in the budget being discussed at the end of April. All the matter would be postponed to September 2017 and to the future budget for the year 2018. Or it might be abandoned altogether.
Opposition by both parties is mounting up. Some criticize the high cost of the project, estimated between 26 and 40 billion dollars. They would rather invest in more technology and border agents, rather than on a major infrastructure project which Mexico is definitely not going to pay for.
Others are wary of the deteriorating relationships with Mexico which might lead to the election of a left-wing new president in 2018. Illegal crossings have diminished dramatically in the last couple of months indicating that a wall might not be needed after all.
Criminal Activity Increasing at the Border
The reduced crossings by undocumented immigrants have been matched by a doubling of assaults on border patrol agents. Criminal activity is becoming much more severe with the tightening of controls.
To be effective, the new wall would need to be much more imposing than the existing one. It would have to go deep in the ground to discourage the creation of galleries.
This means that the administration would have to replace or reinforce a good portion of the existing wall as well. The wall is finding enemies even among Republican representatives that come from districts that share a border with Mexico. One last attempt to funding it would be to establish a border tax or a tax on funds wired to Mexico. Yet this project is being attacked as well by a new lobby coalition.
It is called Americans for Affordable Products and it includes large corporations that require imports from Mexico like automakers and retail giants. Big names that are part of the coalition are Target, Best Buy, and Walmart. Their lobbyists will address 40 members of Congress in 11 states in the coming weeks. The Retail Industry Leaders Association is also pushing back on the border-tax idea and will lobby against it.
The White House has been quiet on the subject recently and it is focusing more and more on deportations that are far easier to perform and more popular with its electorate.