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house Bill H.R. 48

Prohibiting the Use of Taxpayer Money to Build the Border Wall

Argument in favor

The federal government shouldn’t spend taxpayer dollars to build a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border, and this bill would require that all funds for such construction come from the Mexican government.

Argument opposed

The southern border is too porous, costing Americans economic opportunity. It’s also a security risk, due to drugs, weapons, and other security risks entering through the border. The border wall needs to be built, and taxpayer money should be spent if necessary.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 48?

This bill would prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to build a barrier to impede travel between Mexico and the U.S. It’d instead require funds to build this barrier to come from the Mexican government. The bill would also authorize the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) to appoint 100 additional immigration judges. Finally, this bill would instruct the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to take the actions necessary to ensure that displaced persons receive the humanitarian assistance they need.


Taxpayers; tax revenue; southern border; Mexico; DOJ; DHS; and President Trump.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 48

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to prohibit the use of taxpayer money to build President Trump’s promised southern border wall. When she introduced this bill in the last Congress, Rep. Jackson Lee said:

“For too long, some in our country have been singularly obsessed with building a wall along our southern border. Unfortunately, the ringleader of these implacable individuals now occupies the highest office in our government. All of them, however, refuse to acknowledge that a border wall is highly ineffective and prohibitively expensive. So committed are they to their delusion, that the president is willing to shut down the government of the United States in pursuit of this folly. Realistic cost estimates of such a wall easily surpass tens of billions of dollars. This is an immense waste of taxpayer money that could be used to make the investments needed to make America better. This is why… I introduced H.R. 7332, the Protect American Taxpayers and Secure Border Act.’ If enacted, the law would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to construct the border wall. Moreover, it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that ensures that any wall that is build is paid for by Mexico; directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to make occur certain procedures that improve training of agents of the United States Custom and Border Patrol; increases the number of immigration judges; and, it directs the Secretary of DHS to take all such measures to ensure that refugees at the southern border are given humanitarian assistance. The modern reality of what is occurring at our southern border is shocking, and demands comprehensive legislation. This is why the Protect American Taxpayers and Secure Border Act is a necessary piece of legislation and I urge my colleagues to support it.”

Conservative news outlets have been highly critical of this legislation. Breitbart News criticized this bill when it was introduced in December 2018, saying that it “does nothing specific to secure the border.” Simiarly, RedState called this bill a “troll on the Trump administration”:

“If you were to create a tier system of insane Democrats, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas would rank somewhere near the top, but her latest legislation uses one of Trump’s promises as a way to stop the wall from even being built in the first place, making us see a little method in her madness… Democrats, including its sponsors, haven’t really said much about the legislation, oddly enough, but it’s unlikely that the bill would actually get any traction. It’s highly likely that it was crafted as a way to troll the Trump administration.”

In the current Congress, there are no cosponsors of this bill. Last Congress, it had four cosponsors, all of whom were Democrats.

Of NoteThe idea of making Mexico pay for the construction of a southern border wall was one of President Donald Trump’s major campaign promises during the 2016 election. According to The New York Times, Trump has repeated this promise “hundreds of times” and said it’d be “so easy” to fulfill. Trump has variously suggested compelling Mexico to make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion, deducting costs from Mexican foreign aid, impound remittance payments, increasing fees on temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats, increasing fees on border crossing cards, increasing fees on NAFTA worker visa from Mexico, and increasing fees at ports of entry from Mexico to the U.S.

However, as of January 2019, Trump has attempted to walk back this promise, saying that he never said Mexico would write a check:

“When — during the campaign, I would say, ‘Mexico is going to pay for it.’ Obviously, I never said this and I never meant they’re going to write out a check. I said, ‘They’re going to pay for it.’ They are. They are paying for it with the incredible deal we made, called the United States, Mexico, and Canada USMCA deal.”

In recent polling by Quinnipiac University, only 41 percent of Americans supported a southern border wall (down from 43 percent in the previous poll), while 55 percent opposed it. Declaring a national emergency to direct the wall’s construction — an idea that Trump has floated in recent weeks — has polled even more poorly than the wall alone. A Monmouth University poll found that 64 percent of Americans would disapprove of Trump using emergency power to direct military funds to build a border wall, while only 34 percent would approve of the move.


Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: / Jorge Villalba)


Protect American Taxpayers and Secure Border Act

Official Title

To prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, and for other purposes.

    A wall is irrelevant. Why is this even still being argued? If a wall would work, it would exist already. Trump isn't the first president to come up with this idea, but he has the only one who will cause a government shutdown and plan to declare an emergency (that's an oxymoron) about it. It is a waste of money and resources.
    The Wall is a stupid, unnecessary and ineffectual way of addressing border security. It's an insult to Mexico and a shameful embarrassment to the USA. The President's seriousness in proposing a wall is amply demonstrated by his utter lack of any planning, studies, or even details of its design and construction, and the entire project is no more than a vanity project intended to redeem his credibility after using the idea as an applause line in a reckless and irresponsible campaign. Not a penny for Trump's Folly!!!