The border security barrier is almost certain to be the defining issue of President Trump’s first term. He promised to build a “big, beautiful wall” to keep the country safe from drugs, human traffickers and violent criminals, and he’s worked hard to keep that promise despite fierce opposition from The Left. Now the president says work on the wall has already started, despite Congress refusing to fund it. Is that possible?
- Last Wednesday, President Trump tweeted images of a wall being built by the Army Corps of Engineers and said “We have just built this powerful Wall in New Mexico. Completed on January 30, 2019 — 47 days ahead of schedule! Many miles more now under construction! #FinishTheWall”
- In fact, the president was slightly wrong on the timing; that particular section of wall was completed last November. It was completed significantly ahead of schedule, though — several months, in fact.
- It isn’t a new barrier, exactly. It replaces older, less effective fences that were already in the location, a popular one with criminals trying to break through our borders.
- Other sections of wall are currently being built at several points along the border. For example, 14 miles of steel barrier is being constructed near San Diego, another trafficking hot spot. Six more miles are planned in the Rio Grande Valley, with work scheduled to start soon. That will protect Texans from yet another regular entry point for illegals.
- These projects were all funded by congressional appropriations bills signed in the last two years. So far, the $3.6 billion freed up by the current national emergency hasn’t been used for wall construction — although the president plans to start on that soon.
- Right now the state of emergency is being challenged in courts across the country. The ACLU and a coalition of 16 states, most of them not on the border, have filed suits to declare the emergency illegal. Democrats in Congress are also hoping to pass a resolution that will override the presidential declaration.
Right now, the wall is being built, there just isn’t enough money to build all of it. President Trump is pushing ahead with his plan to get that funding. In the meantime, he’s doing what he can with the money that’s already available, so some sections of our border are already safer than they were when he took office.