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Donald Trump's Mexico wall 'could cost taxpayers $21.6 billion'

12 February 2017

A report completed by the Department of Homeland Security and leaked to the Reuters news agency on Thursday, pegs the cost of extending the existing barrier along the southern border at $21.6 billion, nearly double the $12 billion figure that Trump floated during his presidential campaign.

The cost put forth in the DHS report is much higher than estimates by Trump and GOP congressional leaders, including House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe world is safer because of the Iran deal.

"A big uptick in that price is the fact that they are now accounting for in this report, going to court to have to seek control over private land, and what they would have to do to get access roads", she said.

Reuters also reports that the USA government has already begun seeking waivers for environmental laws which govern construction in some of the environmentally sensitive areas of the border, as well as negotiating with existing contractors over steel purchases.

Mexico's leading diplomats flew to Washington, confer with Secretary Rex Tillerson of the State Department and Secretary John Kelly, Department of Homeland Security.

The report is seen as the final step before requesting U.S. taxpayer funds from Congress and beginning construction.

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According to the report, there would be three construction phases spanning 3.5 years, with the first to begin in September.

The report sets out what it would take to close the border with 1,250 miles of fences by the end of 2020 during three construction phases. This would be followed by 151 miles of barrier in Arizona and Texas, then 1,080 miles to seal off remaining sections of the border, which already has 654 miles of barriers. It also suggested the wall be built in phases.

Trump also tweeted on Saturday about another aspect of his immigration policy - the legal battle over the presidential order banning entry to the United States by refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

A DHS spokeswoman said the department does "not comment on or confirm the potential existence of pre-decisional, deliberative documents".

The ensuing legal battle could add drive constructions cost up to as much as $25 billion, according to Bernstein Research, an investment research group that tracks material costs.

Asked about the report, Videgaray told Reuters: "I played no part whatsoever in drawing up the president's speech".