New polling indicates that a majority of Americans do not want their taxpayer dollars to go toward the construction of President Donald Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The new data arrives as Congress negotiates a spending package that will keep the government running through Fiscal Year 2017.
On April 6, a survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research measured Americans' attitudes towards the Trump administration's 2017 budget proposal.
The poll found that only 28 percent of national adults approved of federal spending on the U.S.-Mexico wall while 58 percent were opposed. Breaking down the data, 87 percent of Democratic respondents and 57 percent of Independents were against using taxpayer dollars to fund the wall while roughly 54 percent of Republicans supported the potential spending, AP reports.
"I honestly think the wall is going to be a fiasco," said one respondent, firefighter Wes Drought of Illinois. "If [undocumented immigrants] want to get into the country, they're going to get into the country, regardless of what you put up there."
The most popular among the spending priorities of Trump's proposed budget was increased funding for Veterans Affairs, which drew 74 percent support overall. The most unpopular proposal was cutting spending for scientific and medical research, which only 19 percent of respondents supported.
The Trump administration's budget proposal called for Congress to include $1.5 billion for preliminary spending on the wall in the FY17 spending package. Democratic lawmakers have been unified in their opposition against any appropriations for the border project. Congress has until April 28 to pass a spending package to avoid a government shutdown, according to USA TODAY.
On April 5, a Politico/Morning Consult survey found that 65 percent of registered voters want Congress to avoid a government shutdown at all costs. Only 38 percent of respondents said that acquiring funding for the border wall would be worth a shutdown, Politico reports.
Though fund-raising for the wall project has not yet started, the federal government is proceeding with testing out prototypes for how the potential border could operate.
Private contractors had until April 4 to submit their design bids for the border wall to Customs and Border Protection. A handful of prototypes based on their bids will be constructed in San Diego to determine which design would be most effective, NPR reports.
While public opinion appears to be trending down for the proposed border wall , another issue that could disrupt the project is litigation from landowners.
As the Trump administration continues positioning itself to make good on one of the president's key campaign promises, lawmakers representing regions along the U.S.-Mexico border have begun expressing concern for how the project could require eminent domain to seize lands from their constituents.
Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas has noted that, in order to construct the 2,000-mile structure, many landowners will have to turn over their property to the federal government.
"Property rights are important to all Americans -- especially Texans -- and most of the property along our border has been held privately for generation," Hurd told The Atlantic. "Many Texans I speak to think there are better wars to achieve border security without taking their lands, so you can expect a lengthy and expensive fights from these folks."