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Democratic Senate Staff Report Examines Costs of Proposed Border Wall; President Trump Signs Buy American and Hire American Executive Order; Trump Administration Warns “Sanctuary Cities” on Grant Funding

Legislative Activity

Democratic Senate Staff Report Examines Costs of Proposed Border Wall

On Tuesday, April 18, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee minority staff released a report detailing the costs of the Trump Administration’s proposed concrete wall along the United States’ southern border. The report, which claims the wall could cost nearly $70 billion, used U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cost estimates for certain sections of the wall to extrapolate the project’s total cost. CBP’s cost estimates were also published by Committee staff.

The report notes that the analysis does not include land acquisition costs and states that projected per-mile costs for the wall are “rapidly increasing,” as extrapolated construction costs for FY 2018 totals over $36.6 million per-mile. It also notes that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will reprogram $20 million for prototypes, design standards, and planning for the wall. The report states that the funding will also be used to complete an enforcement zone in San Diego and that maintenance costs for the wall may run as high as $150 million annually.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Wednesday, April 26, the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities has scheduled a hearing titled “Creating a Flexible and Effective Information Technology Management and Acquisitions System: Elements for Success in a Rapidly Changing Landscape.”

  • On Thursday, April 27, the House Armed Services Committee has scheduled a Member Day hearing.

  • On Thursday, April 27, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security has scheduled a hearing titled “The Border Wall: Strengthening our National Security.”

Executive Branch Activity

President Trump Signs Buy American and Hire American Executive Order

Following through on his promise to put “America first,” President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) on April 18 titled “Buy American and Hire American,” a two-part document addressing both procurement and immigration programs.  As he announced the EO in Wisconsin – a state that helped him win the 2016 election – President Trump relied on many of the populist themes that drove his presidential campaign, pledging the EO would help end the “theft of American prosperity” and “protect workers and students.” 

Trump Administration Warns “Sanctuary Cities” on Grant Funding

On Friday, April 21, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent letters to nine jurisdictions requiring them to demonstrate compliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373, which restricts local law enforcement from implementing policies that prohibit the sharing of an individual’s immigration information with the federal government, or risk losing federal grant funding. The letters cite requirements included in FY 2016 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program applications that made awards conditional on Sec. 1373 compliance. Jurisdictions were informed that they must submit documentation and legal opinions verifying Sec. 1373 compliance by June 30, 2017.

The letters come amid Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ visit to San Diego, California to tour the U.S.-Mexico border. During the trip, Attorney General Sessions announced the letters and argued that sanctuary jurisdictions “put criminals back [in the] streets” and put “innocent life – including the lives of countless law-abiding immigrants – in danger by refusing to share vital information with the federal government.”  Secretary Kelly and Attorney General Sessions were joined by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Pooja Virkar is co-author of this article. 

© Copyright 2019 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP


About this Author

Ludmilla L. Savelieff, Policy Attorney, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm

Ludmilla Savelieff draws on her experience in both domestic and international policy to assist clients on a variety of regulatory, legislative, and legal matters.

Prior to law school, Ms. Savelieff was the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she gained first-hand experience in the daily operations of the Executive Branch. While at the Council, she worked closely with the Chairman and his team of policy advisors in the development and management of significant Administration policies and...

Clark Kent Ervin government investigations partner Squire Patton Boggs Lawyer

As a member of the Government Investigations & White Collar Practice Group, Clark K. Ervin helps clients under investigation, or facing the prospect of investigation, by federal Offices of Inspector General, to craft, coordinate and implement strategic defenses. An integral member of the firm’s Homeland Security, Defense and Technology Transfer team, as well as our International Policy Practice, Clark also provides invaluable counsel to clients, both corporations and foreign sovereigns, on issues of national security and foreign policy.

Having served as Inspector General of three federal agencies during the administration of President George W. Bush, Clark brings extensive experience and notable expertise to the firm’s Government Investigations & White Collar Practice. From 2003 to 2004, he served as the very first Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and from 2001 to 2002, as the Inspector General of the Department of State (State) and, simultaneously, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the global media arm of the United States government.

In addition to counseling clients facing Inspector General-led investigations, Clark’s work focuses on other executive branch, congressional and internal corporate investigations, and he plays an active role in the firm’s dealings with State Attorneys General, applying knowledge gained while he served the State of Texas as Assistant Secretary of State and a Deputy Attorney General during then Governor George W. Bush’s administration. In this capacity, he represents clients being investigated by State Attorneys General and he also advocates clients’ policy positions to State Attorneys General. Finally, drawing on his experience at State and DHS, Clark counsels clients on cybersecurity matters and immigration-related matters, including the EB-5 Program.

Clark also has considerable expertise in monitorships. In May 2016, the US Department of Education approved Zenith Education Group’s (Zenith) selection of the firm, with Clark leading the team, as the Monitor with respect to certain provisions the department required Zenith to comply with as a condition of its approval of Zenith’s acquisition of some formerly for-profit colleges owned by the now defunct Corinthian Colleges. In July 2016, the US Department of Justice and the City of Ferguson selected the firm, with Clark leading the team, as the Monitor with respect to the Ferguson Police Department’s and the city’s municipal court system’s compliance with the terms of a consent decree. He also counsels companies on compliance-related matters.

In 2008, Clark served as the co-chairman of then President-elect Barack Obama’s Transition Team for DHS, adding to the experience he gained while previously serving as the department’s first Inspector General. From its inception in 2008 to its expiration in September 2011, Clark, an appointee of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, served as one of the eight members of the independent, bipartisan congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Clark’s government experience is complemented by his policy expertise. Since leaving DHS in 2004, Clark has been affiliated with the Aspen Institute, where he founded and chairs the Homeland Security Program. In this capacity, Clark convenes policymakers and thought leaders in homeland security and counterterrorism with a view to helping shape the policy debate. 

Kameron Simmons, Squire Patton Boggs, Transportation Infrastructure Lawyer, Local Government Public Policy
Public Policy Specialist

Kameron Simmons is a member of the firm’s Transportation, Infrastructure & Local Government Public Policy Practice. Prior to joining the firm, Kam was selected through a competitive process to participate in the firm’s public policy intern program and assisted attorneys and senior policy professionals with legislative and regulatory research, as well as hearing and event coverage and reports. In addition, Kam participated in advocacy efforts for the passage of the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act and sexual assault legislations on Capitol Hill.

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