An internal report at the Department of Homeland Security pegs the cost of a border wall with Mexico at $21.6 billion, far more than cost estimates put forward by President Donald Trump or congressional leadership, Reuters reported Thursday.
According to Reuters, the estimate came from a group assembled by DHS Secretary John Kelly that the news wire described as a “final step” before moving to request taxpayer funds from Congress to begin on the wall.
In February 2016, Trump claimed the barrier would cost $10 billion to 12 billion. Around the same time, the Washington Post’s fact-checkers, based on discussions with engineers and contractors, estimated the cost at $25 billion, at least.
Reuters reported that much of the cost disparity came from the expense of buying private land necessary for the wall’s construction, and the cost of complying with the International Boundary and Water Commission, a pact between the two nations over shared waters.
A DHS spokeswoman told Reuters that the department would not comment on or confirm “the potential existence of pre-decisional, deliberative documents.” And a White House spokeswoman said it would be “premature” to comment on a report that had yet not been presented to the President.