Monday, 20 January, 2020


Homeland Security officials announce milestone in southern border wall construction

Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies in El Paso Texas on January 26. File Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies in El Paso Texas on January 26. File
Bennie Garza | 14 January, 2020, 16:29

Fisher Industries, a North Dakota-based construction firm, wants to install 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) of steel posts about 35 feet (10 meters) from the U.S. bank of the Rio Grande, the river that forms the U.S. -Mexico border in Texas.

Customs and Border Protection has referred to the new wall system as "replacements", but Wolf insisted on Friday that all 100 miles should be considered "new wall systems" because access roads, surveillance and lighting were also built along with the barriers.

But the 100 miles are only a portion of the administration's goal to build 450 miles by the end of this year and the majority replaces wall that was already in place. "This is a milestone achievement for the president, the department, and more importantly for our country - including communities like Yuma".

Yet of the 100 miles, few are areas where there was previously no wall. "It's not so-called "replacement" wall as some our critics claim", Wolf said.

When the president declared the national emergency over border security, he ordered federal agencies to find $6.7 billion in funding from other government projects to finance construction. Further criticisms have been leveled against that project for its negative environmental impact, with laws like the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts being waived to allow for the wall's continued progress.

"The wall system you see behind me is an undeniable impediment to smugglers, traffickers and other criminals who have exploited our lack of effective border infrastructure to smuggle drugs, illicit goods and engage in human trafficking", Wolf said. The acting secretary said it was a time to celebrate.

A number of the President's supporters are part of We Build The Wall, including Steve Bannon and Kris Kobach. "Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!"

Those efforts were boosted Wednesday by a decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allows the administration to use $3.6 billion in military funds for border wall construction.

In a 2-1 decision, the New Orleans-based court issued an order granting a request to stay after the Trump administration filed an appeal to the December decision issued by Judge Briones in El Paso.

"We're confident the district court's ruling that the president can't usurp Congress's power on this spending decision is correct", said Kristy Parker, a lawyer for the Protect Democracy Project, which is representing groups that sued the administration.

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