How It’s Being Paid For Remains Controversial
Despite Mr Trump’s pledge on the campaign trail in 2016 to get Mexico to pay for the wall, it is the US government that has spent billions of dollars to expand and reconstruct it.
Just over $5bn in funding has come via traditional means through the CBP, but Mr Trump has also ordered almost $10bn in Department of Defense funding to be diverted – a move that has sparked legal action.
Back in 2019, after his request for a further $5.7bn for the wall was rejected and Congress allotted only $1.4bn, Mr Trump declared border control a national emergency and used powers under the National Emergencies Act to move cash from DoD budgets.
Some $6.3bn of counter-drugs funding and Â£3.6bn of military construction funding has so far been diverted to the wall project, according to the CBP.
But Mr Trump’s decision to bypass Congress in this way has triggered a number of legal challenges – one from a number of environmental groups, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, along with the states of California and New Mexico.
Two lower US courts have ruled in favour of these groups, concluding that the diversion of an amount of $2.5bn from DoD to construct barriers in California, New Mexico and Arizona was unlawful.
However, the Supreme Court – the highest federal court in the US – has allowed barrier construction using the funds to continue pending the appeals process. It will hear a challenge by President Trump’s administration against the lower courts’ decision next year.
Impact On Mexicous Relations
The executive order soured relations between the U.S. and Mexico. Mexican PresidentEnrique Peña Nieto addressed Mexican citizens via a recorded message, in which he condemned Trump’s executive order and again said Mexico would not pay for the wall’s construction. Following a Twitter feud between the two leaders in which Trump threatened to cancel a planned meeting with Nieto in Washington, Nieto decided to cancel the meeting himself.
Addressing supporters, Mexican opposition politician Andrés Manuel López Obrador condemned the wall order as an insult to Mexico, and demanded the Mexican government to pursue claims against the American government in the United Nations.
In March 2017, Mexican congressman Braulio Guerra of Querétaro illegally climbed, and partially crossed, an existing 30-foot border fence on American soil dividing San Diego and Tijuana, saying that more walls would be ineffective.
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mexico opposed the border wall, and wrote that any Mexican company that participates in construction of the wall or supplies materials for construction would be committing “treason against the homeland”.
Why The Wall Wouldnt Stop Smuggling
Why the DHS believes that a 30foot tall wall cannot be scaled and a tunnel cannot be built deeper than six feet below ground is not clear.
Drug smugglers have been using tunnels to get drugs into the United States ever since Mexicos most famous drug trafficker, Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán of the Sinaloa Cartel, pioneered the method in 1989. And the sophistication of these tunnels has only grown over time. In April 2016, U.S. law enforcement officials discovered a drug tunnel that ran more than half a mile from Tijuana to San Diego and was equipped with ventilation vents, rails, and electricity. It is the longest such tunnel to be found so far, but one of 13 of great length and technological expertise discovered since 2006. Altogether, between 1990 and 2016, 224 tunnels have been unearthed at the U.S.Mexico border.
Other smuggling methods increasingly include the use of drones and catapults as well as joint drainage systems between border towns that have wide tunnels or tubes through which people can crawl and drugs can be pulled. But even if the land border were to become much more secure, that would only intensify the trend toward smuggling goods as well as people via boats that sail far to the north, where they land on the California coast.
224The number of tunnels unearthed at the U.S.Mexico border, 19902016
And America does nothing to stop the weapons coming here! Valeria exclaimed to me.
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A Key Migrant Camp Is Emptying
Thousands who have made the journey to the southern US border have found refuge in temporary border communities – often in shanty towns with little infrastructure or resources and vulnerable to pressure from violent organised-crime gangs.
According to Human Rights Watch, these migrants are under threat from criminal organisations which kidnap them on the assumption that they have relatives in the US who could be extorted for money.
In the town of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, hundreds of people set up one such camp in 2018 near the entry point, in the scrubland on the banks of the Rio Grande.
Charities such as the World Food Kitchen, the Dignity Village collective and Global Response Management provide food, tents, clothing and medical care to those living in the camp, where around 50% of residents are under the age of 15.
But Andrea Leiner, director of strategic planning for GRM, says coronavirus and July’s Hurricane Hanna have had dire consequences.
Coronavirus restrictions have meant the border has been closed for all but essential travel and immigration hearings have been postponed.
Hurricane Hanna not only brought floods to the camp but also caused an infestation of rats, snakes and mosquitoes, forcing many residents to flee.
Ms Leiner says the repeated blows of plague, famine, and hurricane, on top of the legal restrictions, have drained people of hope.
Stop : A Scene One Sheriff Calls ‘foolish’
“About January the 24th everything stopped. … To me, it’s just — just crazy.”
Joe Frank Martinez, Val Verde County sheriff
“I just think it’s foolish to leave this project as it is. My understanding is that they’re going to continue in the near future, but that’s yet to be seen.”
Joe Frank Martinez, Val Verde County sheriff
“If that happens, then we’re going to go back 20-30 years, where you’re going to get masses of people coming through here. Crime rate in my community will go up, because there’s no structure here.”
Joe Frank Martinez, Val Verde County sheriff
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More: Republicans Step Up Attacks On Biden Over Handling Of Migrant Surge At Border
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., who visited the border in southern Texas with 17 other GOP colleagues, told ABC News that border security officials told lawmakers migrants were taking advantage of the gaps in the wall around the McAllen, Texas area.
Senate Republicans have called on the Government Accountability Office to assess whether the Biden administration violated the Impoundment Control Act – a 1974 law at the heart of the first impeachment case against Trump, that limits a president’s power to withhold funds.
While Democrats and Republicans agree Biden can redirect billions Trump diverted from the Pentagon to fund the project, Republicans argue that unspent wall funds approved by Congress can only be used for their original purpose.
A spokesperson for the White House Office of Management and Budget said Biden’s actions were consistent with appropriations law.
More: More Than 172000 Migrants Most In Nearly 2 Decades Stopped At Us
“The wall is a monument of xenophobia and hatred that does nothing to address the root causes of migration and asylum claims — violence and unrest in the countries of origin that the United States has often exacerbated,” Omar, a former refugee from Somalia, said in a statement.
On the other side of the party, border Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said Biden should determine whether to tear down or continue building portions of the wall on a “case-by-case basis.”
He said the administration should redirect wall funds to technology and other border infrastructure and warned that Democrats could be punished by voters in the 2022 midterms for not taking a tougher position on border security in light of the migrant crisis and ongoing GOP attacks.
More than 172,000 migrants were taken into government custody at the southwest border in March, according to Customs and Border Protection, the largest single-month total in nearly two decades.
Garza, the vineyard owner whose husband’s family has owned their parcel of land for hundreds of years, called on the Biden administration to stop the wall project and return land that had already been seized.
“They should just cease and desist. No more walls. People are going to get over it anyway. You’ve seen them drop the babies,” she said.
“It’s not as easy as the government saying we’re picking up stakes, we’re done,” he said. “There will still be more litigation over some of the negative consequences of what they’ve done to property owners.”
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More: Migrant Surge At Border Poses Political Threat To Biden
Nearly a month after that 60-day mark, the wall’s future remains in limbo and the review continues, according to a White House official, as the Biden administration struggles to address competing pressures over Trump’s signature project meant to prevent the very flow of illegal migration Biden is now working to contain. The issue, together with Biden’s recent wavering on the number of refugees allowed into the United States, is another example of the administration’s ongoing struggle to chart its immigration policies.
“The 60-day window has come and gone,” said Luke Ellis, a Texas attorney representing border landowners in court. “The most recent update we have from the lawyers for the government … is that they still don’t know what is going to happen.”
Trump’s Wall: How Much Has Been Built During His Term
President Donald Trump is visiting the southern border in Texas to claim success in the construction of a border fence with Mexico.
The White House said his visit would “mark the completion of more than 400 miles of border wall – a promise made, promise kept”.
So how much of the border wall has Mr Trump managed to build during his term in office?
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Public Acquisition Of Land
Additionally, privately owned land adjacent to the border would have to be acquired by the U.S. government to be built upon. Property owners in southern Texas will lose easy access to significant portions of their land as the wall is built along but some distance from the Rio Grande. Historic gravesites in South Texas may be impacted. In 2017, satirical party-game publisher Cards Against Humanity purchased a plot of land on the border to prevent the wall from being built there.
Trumps Border Wall And The Slow Decay Of American Soil
The big, beautiful wall has kept US citizens away from the no mans land it created and in effect ceded territory to Mexico
Several miles south of the small town of San Juan, Texas, beyond acres of onion fields, orange groves and other cash crops sits a historic cemetery and the site of the beginning of a slow decay of American soil.
I hadnt been to this area for more than a year because of the pandemic, and I was startled at how different this remote part of Texas had become. The most obvious change is the steel 18ft-high bollard fencing, among the last vestiges of Donald Trumps glorious border wall with Mexico.
Trump visited this site in June with Governor Greg Abbott to tout his accomplishments in controlling the border and to praise Abbott for taking up the anti-immigrant baton that resonates so well with the conservative voting base in Texas.
The last time I came to visit this spot, no wall existed and the historic cemetery the Eli Jackson cemetery was under a 24-hour vigil by a Native American tribe called the Carrizo/Comecrudo, as well as other supporters who feared a border wall would destroy sacred burial land and a sacred piece of history.
It was true under the wall that was built by the George W Bush administration and its true of the walls that were erected during the Trump administration.
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This Is What Trump’s Wall Looks Like Four Years After He Was Elected To Build It
Anna Giaritelli, Homeland Security Reporter |
The Trump administration will surpass 400 miles of new border wall, with roughly the same amount funded and headed for construction, as the country heads to the polls on Election Day.
The Washington Examiner traveled in late October to see existing wall from previous administrations, new barrier, and unfenced areas of the border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California to learn where the president’s 2016 campaign promise stands.
Thirty-foot wall now stands up and down the 2,000-mile border and marks a visible accomplishment for the Trump White House, even after critics claimed in early years that it was a silly idea, a waste of taxpayer money, and simply impossible to build.
Over the past four fiscal years, Congress passed budgets with $15 billion for 738 miles of a new border wall system, which includes new roads, lighting, a host of technology options, and the physical wall. Early on, the federal agency that planned where wall would go, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, determined that roughly half of the 700 miles of fencing that had been installed during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations was insufficient for blocking people from illegally immigrating into the United States.
Four-hundred of the 738 miles of wall funded under President Trump is for building new wall in areas with insufficient barriers. The remaining more than 330 miles are in places that have never had any sort of barrier.
El Paso, Texas
Fact Check: Did President Trump Build The ‘big Beautiful’ Border Wall He Promised
During President Donald Trump‘s first campaign for president, one of his biggest, most quoted promises was to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border.
As far back as June 16, 2015, when he launched his campaign, Trump promised to “build a great wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border “very inexpensively.”
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively,” Trump said. “I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
“Build the wall” chants were still heard at Trump’s 2020 campaign rallies.
As President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office January 20, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection aim to complete 450 miles of border wall before the inauguration.
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Promise: The Wall Will Be ‘big Beautiful’ And ‘concrete’ Status: Not Exactly
Trump spent a lot of time as a candidate talking about how his big, beautiful border wall would look. He often said it would be made out of concrete he said it would be 35 or 40 or 55 or 80 feet tall, depending on the rally.
The politicians would come up to me, and theyd say, You know, Donald, you cant build the wall. I said, You have to be kidding. You have to be kidding. Concrete plank, you have to be kidding. Precast, precast, right? Boom. Bing. Done. Keep going, he said in August 2016.
As president, he spent millions on border wall prototypes some concrete, some steel to test new border wall structures all eight were vulnerable to breaching and have since been torn down.
The Trump administration has continued to use steel bollard fencing designs for border barriers, just like the Obama administration.