DHS Draft Report Outlines Plans for Trump's Border Wall

Image: A general view shows a newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park
A newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Nov. 9, 2016.Jose Luis Gozalez / Reuters

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By Pete Williams

A draft report detailing efforts to carry out President Trump's executive order on restricting illegal immigration says the government's highest priority for a southern border wall is a 34-mile-long area in the Rio Grande Valley.

That assessment is contained in the draft of a report to the White House on progress in implementing his border security order. The document says the second-highest priority for the wall is a 14-mile-long area south of San Diego.

The Department of Homeland Security has received permission from Congress to reprogram $20 million in its current budget to build "prototypes" — short segments that contractors offer as their versions of what the new wall should look like. The draft document says they'll be built from mid-June to mid-July.

If Congress approves money for starting work on the wall itself, construction would begin in the Rio Grande Valley and south of San Diego.

The draft document, dated "April 25, 2017" has not yet been approved by the Homeland Security leadership, DHS officials said. Its contents were first reported by The Washington Post.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Congress last week that the goal of the president's order is stopping illegal immigration, and that may involve better use of electronic sensors, and Border Patrol agents in lieu of a wall in some places.

"It's unlikely that we will build a wall or physical barrier from sea to shining sea," Kelly said.

As for another Trump administration priority, hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, the draft document says Customs and Border Protection is considering waiving the polygraph requirements for some applicants, using a "risk-based approach."