President Trump said in El Paso that he’s changing it from “Built the Wall” to “Finish the Wall”.
And he’s right.
Much construction has already begun.
Yes, there’s a lot to go, but that’s only because Congress is playing obstructionist with America.
Here’s what Trump had to say today:
Trump Proven Right:
From the Washington Examiner:
When President Trump said Monday at a campaign rally in El Paso that, “We’ve actually started a big, big portion of the wall today at a very important location, and it’s going to go up pretty quickly over the next nine months," I assumed it was nonsense he was spreading in hopes that his supporters might not mob him on stage for so far failing to keep the central promise of his campaign.
He similarly said Tuesday at the White House, "We just started a big, big section [of wall] on the Rio Grande."
I'm happy to say I was wrong. Trump was telling the truth.
I checked in with agents at the Rio Grande Valley border sector to see if they knew what new "wall" Trump was talking about. They sent me information on construction for new border barrier announced last year. The project funds six miles-worth of concrete and steel barrier of the sort that agents told me in January is immensely successful in deterring illegal border crossings.
The wall will be supplemented by "detection technology, lighting, video surveillance, and an all-weather patrol road parallel" to the barrier, according to a release sent out by the CBP in November.
And the $145 million for it didn't come from some long-ago-passed funding bill passed under former President Barack Obama. It was included in U.S. Customs and Border Protection's budget for fiscal year 2018. Unlike other parts of new barrier construction and reparation, Trump can actually take credit for this one!
Also from the Washington Examiner:
“As I was walking up to this stage, I was told, 'Progress is being made with this committee.' Just so you know, we're building the wall anyway,” said Trump, who spoke at the packed El Paso County Coliseum, located just one block north of the U.S.-Mexico border. He stood on a podium with two large red “Finish the Wall” signs hanging in the air to the left and right of him.
The campaign told the Washington Examiner it chose to hold the rally, Trump’s first of the year, in this specific border town because a barrier that was put up there a few years ago has led to a decrease in crime.
“As the President continues his flight to secure the border, there’s no better place to demonstrate that walls work in El Paso,” Michael Glassner, Trump campaign chief operating officer said in an email to the Washington Examiner before the event. “President Trump looks forward to visiting with the patriots of Texas who are on the front lines of the struggle against open border Democrats who allow drugs, crime, and sex trafficking all along our border every day.”
The campaign found a receptive population in El Paso, where 62,000 people signed up to get tickets. The coliseum fits 7,500, and thousands of people hung around outside.
Sara Isabel Pantoja, a Hispanic resident of El Paso who attended the rally, said more wall in the region will further boost security.
“The wall they built helped crime,” she said. “Oh yes, 100 percent build the wall,” she said. “We are here because we want President Trump to finish what President Bush started a long time ago.”
Another attendee, 24-year-old Mario Guerra, said he supported former President Barack Obama but thinks adding more wall in his hometown is a good thing.
“The border wall has somewhat been helping drop crime, said Guerra. "Granted, before the wall crime has been dropping anyway,” he said. “I don’t have anything against or for the wall but I see more good than bad because, what can we lose?”
Maria Griffith, a mother and El Paso resident, said she noticed a major uptick in the number of families trying to claim asylum at a border crossing in El Paso over the weekend. As a grandmother, she said she sympathizes with the families trying to bring their children in but that the dangerous treks and illegal entries that many force their children to go through need to be stopped, and a wall would do that.
And here's what's under construction, according to NPR:
Leaving aside the semantic difference between a wall and a fence, Trump is correct that fencing in San Diego, for example, significantly reduced "illegal traffic" when originally built decades ago. It also pushed border-crossers east, away from coastal San Diego, to areas where the fencing is less robust. Partly as a result, thousands have perished trying to trek through deserts and mountains.
The other locales Trump mentioned do have many miles of existing fencing that is being replaced or strengthened. To date, the fencing is a hodge-podge of projects covering about 650 miles.
In November, the government announced a $324 million contract for 32 miles of "primary pedestrian replacement wall" in Arizona.
A 20-mile border wall replacement project in Santa Teresa, N.M., was announced in April 2018. The cost is reported to be $73.3 million.
A 6-mile "levee wall system" is set for construction in Texas's Rio Grande Valley beginning in February 2019. It will cost $145 million.
A 14-mile "border wall construction project" along the border in San Diego was announced in June 2018. The project actually will replace an "eight-to-10 foot high scrap metal wall with an 18-to-30 foot bollard-style wall topped off with an anti-climbing plate." The cost will be $147 million.
The dramatic declines in "illegal traffic," as the president put it, appear to reflect the long term impact of fencing and other factors that go back to the 1990s.
Construction spots also confirmed by MSN:
Where is Trump's border wall being built?
If you consider the barrier projects "border walls," here are some of the locations:
- In April, the Border Patrol began construction of a "border wall" near El Paso at Santa Teresa, N.M. During a press conference, Aaron Hull, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso sector, mostly referred to the project as the wall, sometimes calling it "fence" but quickly correcting himself. Hull said the metal barrier was the same design as others from the 2006 Secure Fence Act. The new barrier replaced existing metal posts which were designed only to block vehicles.
- In September, the Border Patrol announced construction of "a new 4-mile section of bollard wall" in the historic Chihuahuita neighborhood in El Paso. The new bollards replaced existing chain-link fencing.
- In October, border officials marked the completion of 2 miles of barriers near Calexico, Calif. Crews had replaced older metal fencing with new, 30-foot steel bollards, a project identified as a priority and funded under President Barack Obama.
- In November, Customs and Border Protection officials announced a contract for about 6 miles of "wall system" in the Rio Grande Valley. The project is supposed to include a concrete levee wall "to the height of the existing levee" with 18-foot bollards on top. That barrier is not being built yet; it's set to be started in February.
Newsweek also confirmed construction is under way in El Paso:
Construction on new sections of a partially "see-through" 18-foot border wall in El Paso, Texas, reportedly began over the weekend, bringing President Donald Trump one step closer to seeing construction of his long-promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said it started building the wall on Saturday, with the steel structure replacing fencing that had once marked the divide between the U.S. and Mexico, according to Fox News 11.
The Department of Homeland Security told Fox the wall is expected to replace a 4-mile section of a former chain link and metal fence.
"This new wall will be far more durable and far more effective in deterring would-be illegal entrants," Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Hull told Fox.
The construction project is expected to be completed by late April 2019, at an estimated cost of $22 million, according to Fox.
Images of the wall appear to show the bottom half consisting of bars, which allow people on either side to see through the barrier, with the upper half solid and opaque.
In other areas along the border, photos taken in April appear to reveal further construction underway, with images showing construction sites for a roughly 20-mile-long border wall expected to create a barrier between Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua, Mexico.
The construction sites appear to support Trump's claims months ago that construction on his wall had already begun.
“We’ve already started building it,” Trump said in West Virginia on April 5, according to FactCheck.org. “We have a billion-six. We’ve started building it and fixing miles and miles of wall that’s already up—and fence. And we’re going to have our wall.”
Both designs also appear to reflect the U.S. leader's demand for a border wall that is "see through."
Discussing his plans for a "see-through" wall back in January, the president said during an interview with The Wall Street Journal, "If I'm standing here, I want to be able to see 200 yards out."
He added, "I want to be able to see. I don't want to have a piece of concrete that I can't see."
The president asserted that if the wall was not see-through, people would "have no idea who's on the other side."
While the wall developments may appear to be well underway, the president has made abundantly clear his frustrations over a lack of funding for his border ambitions.