House Passes Border Wall Funding in Spending Package

July 27, 2017
Michel Marizco
A Yuma County Sheriff's Office vehicle parks along the Homeland Security Department's vehicle barrier in Yuma County.

The House of Representatives voted largely along party lines to fund a wall along the U.S. Mexico border on Thursday.

Funding for the border wall was packed into a measure that would pay for everything from more fighter jets for the Pentagon to energy and water but it was the most contentious.

Tucson Democrat Raul Grijalva has been critical of the border wall since then-presidential candidate Donald Trump first announced his plans in 2016 and then pushed them through with a decision Wednesday to ban transgendered Americans from serving in the military.

"That was a trade, that was a ransom, and in order for him to get this through political plum to get his funding for a wall. I think that makes the situation more disgusting than it already is," Grijalva said.

Mesa Republican Andy Biggs cast a yes vote Thursday and said in a statement that a border wall is vital. He called for an increase in agents and roads along the border for agents to patrol on.

Southern Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally voted for the measure and applauded the military measures in the bill but made no mention of the allotted $1.57 billion for the border wall.

Construction is supposed to begin in Texas and California. It is unclear whether any construction would take place in Arizona. Most of Arizona’s 378 mile border with Mexico has either an existing bollard fence or a vehicle barrier on the boundary. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada considers more construction in that county to be unnecessary.

"Definitely we don’t it and there’s places here where you couldn’t even start to build a wall here. So no definitely, we have what we need here," Estrada said.

Soil testing already began in the Rio Grande Valley where one of the border wall projects involves adding more fences on top of levees.