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Trump budget plan has billions for border


President Donald Trump wants billions of dollars to start building a wall at the Mexican border and fund efforts to find, jail and deport immigrants in the country illegally.

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The Office and Management and Budget’s financial outline for the Department of Homeland Security also calls on the Coast Guard to scrap the agency’s counterterrorism Maritime Security Response Team, and all its Maritime Safety and Security Teams.

The rationale for the elimination of the programs is not spelled out in the budget documents obtained by the Associated Press.

Trump has made fighting terrorism a top priority, and his overall budget outline calls for significant increases in military spending.

Trump has vowed to spare middle-class social programs such as Social Security and Medicare from any cuts.

The Homeland Security budget outline includes money to start hiring new immigration and border agents.

It largely adheres to Trump’s promises to bolster security at the Mexican border and crack down on illegal immigration in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the documents, which are labelled “pre-decisional” and “not for public release,” referring questions to the White House.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump’s overall budget blueprint seeks a $US54 billion surge in US military spending for new aircraft, ships and fighters.

It also slashes big chunks from domestic programs and foreign aid to make the government “do more with less”.

Trump’s first budget is due in more detail to Congress in March.

“Topline” figures were released on Monday, a day before Trump addresses a joint session of Congress (1pm AEDT on Wednesday).

If Congress ultimately approves Trump’s budget plans, Homeland Security would see an overall budget increase of about $US2.7 billion to roughly $US44 billion.

That would include nearly $US2 billion more for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s efforts in locating, arresting and deporting immigrants in the country illegally.

Trump has said he intends to increase deportations.

Though the Coast Guard became part of the civilian Homeland Security Department after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the agency is treated as a branch of the military.

Scrapping the the Maritime Security Response Team would save the government about $43 million, the budget documents show.

The documents also call for cancelling a roughly $500 million new ship, described as “unplanned and unwanted”.

– AP

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