By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday he expects that nearly 500 miles in new border wall will be built by the time the 2020 election rolls around next November, as new segments are set to be built following an infusion of $3.6 billion in funding from the Pentagon.
“We’re building different sections simultaneously. And we think by the end of next year, which will be some time right after the election, actually—but we think we’re going to have close to 500 miles of the wall which will be complete,” said President Trump.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, the president said that “very large sections of the wall” are currently under construction, and that the building is happening “rapidly.”
He added that the new 500 miles’ worth of fencing and walls will address the most serious security shortfalls that his administration wanted to protect but that it will also include some “marginal areas.”
In sum, the length of the U.S.-Mexico border is longer than 1,900 miles and there are some natural barriers that bar people from crossing into the U.S. illegally along roughly one-third of that distance.
“We should have it almost complete, if not complete, by the end of next year. So we look forward to that,” Trump noted.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Monday that he is authorizing the Defense Department to spend $3.6 billion on border wall construction pursuant to a declaration of a national emergency by President Donald Trump earlier this year.
In a letter to lawmakers, Esper said the authorization includes construction funds for some 175 miles of border fence entailing 11 separate projects.
“I have determined that 11 military [wall] construction projects along the international border with Mexico, with an estimated total cost of $3.6 billion, are necessary to support the use of the armed forces in connection with the national emergency,” Esper wrote in the letter obtained by CNN.
“These projects will deter illegal entry, increase the vanishing time of those illegally crossing the border, and channel migrants to ports of entry,” Esper noted.
“They will reduce the demand for [Department of Defense] personnel and assets at the locations where the barriers are constructed and allow the redeployment of DoD personnel and assets to other high-traffic areas on the border without barriers.”
“In this respect, the contemplated construction projects are force multipliers,” the letter say
For his part, President Trump praised the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding Executive Branch authority to repurpose funds that Congress did not allocate for any specific purpose.
The high court ruled on July 26 that the president can use $2.5 billion in Department of Defense funding to build a portion of the wall along the southern border.
Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2019
The president noted that Defense Secretary communicated directly with Congress, not the White House.
“He feels it’s a national security problem; I do, too. It is—when you have thousands of people trying to rush our country, I think that’s national security.
“When you have drugs pouring into our country, I view that as national security. And he had very good conversations with various members of Congress,” the president said.