By Kaitlyn Schallhorn, ,
Published May 21, 2018
Those who want to see President Trump’s border wall built may get a chance to help fund the project if a recently introduced bill is passed.
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., last week, would create a “border wall trust fund.” People could donate any amount of money to it, with the funds specifically designated for “whatever it takes to build the wall” -- from supplies to salaries. It would be overseen by the Treasury Department, according to Black.
“Real immigration reform cannot be achieved without a secure border -- President Trump has been clear about this since day one,” Black, a member of the House Budget Committee, 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.”
In an interview with Fox News, Black said while anyone can donate money to the U.S. Treasury now, this trust fund would ensure donations would specifically go toward the construction of the border wall.
“I support President Trump in building the wall. It’s going to take big funds to do that,” Black said, adding that she doesn’t believe Congress has done enough in terms of allocating funding for the wall.
Black stressed that the trust fund wouldn’t be the first time the government used crowdfunding to complete a project. She said the fund could be patterned after the private donations used to construct the Washington Monument.
Created in 1833, the Washington National Monument Society fundraised to begin construction of the Washington Monument. The society was given land, raised money and hired architect Robert Mills to design the memorial. However, the group ran out of money, and construction of the memorial was stalled for more than 20 years until Congress took it over, according to the National Park Service.
Corporations, including Target, also paved the way monetarily for restorations to the monument beginning in 1996, according to the National Park Service.
Black, who is running for governor in Tennessee, said she’s already heard from a number of her constituents who support the idea of a public trust fund. If established, Black said she and her husband would be first to donate.
In March, Trump signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that included only $1.6 billion for border measures -- much of which is for repairs to already existing fencing. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and the White House said the spending bill provided for 100 miles of border construction; however, it specifically ruled out any new prototypes for the wall such as the ones Trump visited in California earlier this year.
RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), blamed Democrats for the lack of border funding, including in the spending package. He told Fox News that Black’s bill “would provide a unique funding source for the president’s signature campaign promise.”
Heather Douglass, a spokeswoman for Black, told Fox News, "We’re hoping to see [the bill] go through to the president’s desk."
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.