Mexico isn't paying, so now some Republican politicians are looking elsewhere to fund the possible wall along the southern border. One even thought to let those in favor of the wall pay it themselves. A lawmaker introduced a crowdfunding bill for the border wall. Rep. Diane Black wants what is essentially a government GoFundMe that would make Trump's project come to be.
The bill, which is called the "Border Wall Trust Fund Act’’ would "allow the Secretary of the Treasury to accept public donations to fund the construction of a barrier on the border between the United States and Mexico, and for other purposes."
But the Treasury doesn't just have to keep the money, it has to create its own version of a crowdfunding website to accept the donations too. The bill reads that it "create a publicly accessible website to receive such gifts" within 60 days of the bill passing.
The money can only be spent on the wall — not other border security measures. The text reads that the funds are "to plan, design, construct, or maintain a barrier along the international border between the United States and Mexico. Such funds may not be used for any other purpose."
And if you are someone who donates? You will be remembered with your name officially displayed at a site along the wall. The bill stipulates that the border barrier will recognize "individuals who contributed to the Border Wall Trust Fund."
That's kind of like when you support a project in lots of other online crowdsourcing platforms. Section 3 of the bill is completely about a "commemorative display," and it spells out how it will be built — along the wall — and even what length. The commemoration will be one mile long, unless that's deemed to be "impracticable."
And donors have the option to donate specifically to the commemorative display — not just the border wall itself. "The Secretary of the Treasury shall provide a process by which a donor may designate the donation of that donor to fund construction of the commemorative display under this section." That option will show up on the website, along with the estimated price for the border wall commemoration. Then the rest of the money will go to the wall.
Black went on Fox News on Monday to try and sell the bill. Host Harris Faulkner asked the representative why Mexico wasn't going to pay, as Trump promised on the campaign trail and the first months in office.
"I would like for Mexico to pay for that, and I’m not close enough to the administration to see what kind of pressure they’re putting on them,” Black told Fox News.
“I support President Trump in building the wall. It’s going to take big funds to do that,” Black added, going on to acknowledge that Congress hadn’t supported the wall financially.
The Department of Homeland Security says the wall will cost at least $21.6 billion to build. And it could take more than three years to finish. Congress assigned $1.6 billion to border security in March, but none of that is meant to build Trump’s wall. Only part of it goes to fences and other physical barriers; the rest is to fix old fencing and on new border security technology.
Black is selling the crowdfund plan as a way for citizens to pay for the project, even though that is normally what they would do through taxes. “Real immigration reform cannot be achieved without a secure border — President Trump has been clear about this since day one,” Black said in a statement. “The most important job of the federal government is the safety and security of the American people, and if citizens in our country wish to contribute to this effort, they absolutely should be given the opportunity.”
If her bill passes, those in favor of the bill can chip in — and they’ll need to do so in the tens of billions range.