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In One Chart: The skyrocketing cost of securing the southern border, in one chart

In 1990, the U.S. Border Patrol budget came in at $263 million. Three decades later, and that figure, with immigration remaining a pressing issue ahead of the 2020 election, has ballooned to $4.7 billion, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.

Cost-estimating website HowMuch.net crunched the numbers and put those surging costs into perspective with this chart:

Of note, these figures are not adjusted for inflation.

One look at staffing levels, however, gives a clearer picture of the burgeoning operation. The number of Border Patrol agents has doubled in the past 15 years, and the total budget for border enforcement has set records for the five years running, with more than $20 billion spent during that time period.

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