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Letter: This border wall debate wastes time, money
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican members of Congress on immigration in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Washington. From left, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump, and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas. - photo by Associated Press

By Feb. 15, the president and Congress must reach a budget deal to keep our government open. The president says he needs $5.7 billion to finish a wall, and Congress has offered him money to maintain and expand the existing system. There's a lot of misinformation about this wall, the money and another possible government shutdown.

President Trump made a campaign promise for a border wall, 35 to 40 feet tall, running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, which would stop all illegal immigrants, all terrorists and all contraband from crossing our southern border.

Some political supporters of Republican Donald Trump think this border wall could be completed with the requested $5.7 billion. That promise is gone for good and has been for a long time. Some possible prototypes of a small size “wall” were built but none have been adopted or constructed at any point along the border.

For the border, last year, Republicans gave the Department of Homeland Security $1.375 billion. The money funded repair projects and an extension of existing fencing. One of the projects fell behind schedule and remains uncompleted. Yet, some Republicans lie about the projects.

The four projects included a steel bollard wall, a primary pedestrian wall, a secondary border wall and a levee wall system. When and if all the repairs, replacements and extensions are completed, we would have worked on 84 miles of fence.

For this year, 2019, the Democrats offered him the same amount of money as the Republicans in 2018, $1.375 billion. The president rejected that money and shut down the government. The immediate economic cost of the shutdown exceeded the $5.7 billion. That was fiscally irresponsible .

Had the Republican Congress of 2018 or the 2019 Congress given President Trump $5.7 billion, that broken promise of a wall would still be a broken campaign promise. There's no wall being planned. The uncompleted projects are merely repairs, upgrades and extensions of existing fence. The huge new money could have been used to hide cost over-runs on bad promises and poor execution of old plans.

No money. No wall. No more lies.

Michael W. Parker

Flowery Branch

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