The Trump administration earlier this month installed a plaque on a new barrier along the southern border to commemorate the construction of 100 miles (161 kilometers) of the border wall so sought after by President Trump.
The interim secretary of National Security, Chad Wolf, traveled to Yuma, Arizona, on January 10 to announce that the administration had finished building 100 miles of new barriers, describing the feat as a "milestone" that deserved a "celebration" .
On Saturday he wrote in a tweet that delivered a silver replica to Trump "on behalf of the men and women of the US Border Patrol" and Anthony Porvaznik, head of the US Customs and Border Protection sector in Yuma.
The plaque indicated in its inscription that another was placed in a new barrier built along the Colorado River in Yuma. The plaque says it is "dedicated to all men and women who work tirelessly to protect our nation." "Thank you for your firm commitment to the Southwest Border Wall project in the Yuma Sector," adds the sheet.
Trump made the construction of a wall along the southern border a major theme of his 2016 presidential campaign, and in February, he declared a national emergency to avoid Congress and spend approximately $ 6 billion on military funds to begin Build the wall
The statement stimulated numerous legal actions, but the Supreme Court last July ruled that the Trump administration could begin using $ 2.5 billion in military funds for the construction of the wall while the dispute is taking place.
A federal appeals court offered another victory to Trump on January 8 by lifting a decision from a lower court that prevents the administration from taking advantage of military funds for the construction of the wall. The most recent decision was applied to a separate set of funds, CNN reported.
Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that the administration planned to divert another 7.2 billion from the Pentagon for this year's works. It would be the second consecutive year that military funds are redirected to the construction of the border wall.
"We will continue to oppose the transfer of anti-drug funds to the wall, and we will force a new vote to end the President's false national emergency declaration and return these much needed military construction funds to our military," a group of senators said in a statement. in response to the report, including the minority leader of the Senate, Democrat Charles Schumer.
20 million per mile
The price of the border wall exceeded 11,000 million dollars , or almost 20 million per mile, to become the most expensive wall of this style in the world.
In a State report last week, the US Customs and Border Protection Office. The US (CBP), which oversees the construction of the wall, reported that figure has been identified since Trump took office to build 576 miles (927 kilometers) of a new "border wall system."
And the Trump administration is looking for funds to build even more. The Department of Homeland Security has asked the Department of Defense to submit money for an additional 270 miles of border wall that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says is necessary to block smuggling routes of drugs on federal lands. The Pentagon is studying the request.
If the Trump administration completes all the projects on the wall it has launched, three quarters of the southern border of the United States. UU., Would be boarded up in Mexico. The government inherited about 650 miles (1,046 kilometers) of border structures erected under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
"They are going to have a wall like no other. It will be a powerful and terrible wall," President Trump said at a rally in Milwaukee last week. "A very large and very powerful border wall is climbing at record speed, and now we are fully funded, isn't it nice?"
To get an idea of why the government is spending so much on Trump's border wall, you don't have to look beyond the construction sites in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
On a side of a caliche road, you can see the pedestrian fence that was erected more than a decade ago. At 18 feet, it seems downright insignificant. Across the road are huge steel bollards topped with an "anti-climbing plate" that rises 30 feet above the cotton fields, surrounded by men with helmets and heavy equipment.
Bush's fence averaged $ 4 million per mile; Trump's wall costs five times more: 20 million per mile. The total cost of 11,000 billion is close to the price of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Customs and Border Protection spokesman Christian Alvarez says there is much more to the Trump barrier. "The border wall system will include an application area of 150 feet, lighting, cameras, other technology and, most importantly, an all-weather access road that will facilitate the response to traffic (of undocumented immigrants). So it will not only be the barrier in itself, "Álvarez told NPR Noticias .
There is more steel, an expensive commodity, in a 30-foot structure. In addition, there are powerful reflectors, and each mile will have a conduit for electrical energy and fiber optics that connect surveillance cameras. The electronic doors that allow the passage through the wall cost up to one million per piece. And there is a zone of gradual and gravel application as wide as a six-lane highway.
Trump's border wall is now the tallest and most expensive in the world, said Reece Jones, a geographer at the University of Hawaii who studies border walls. "The cost of almost 20 million per mile is four times more than the other more expensive walls that are being built," Jones said.
The researcher added that border walls are very popular in the post-Cold War era, and now there are at least 60 worldwide. The wall of Israel in the West Bank is located as the second most expensive, with a cost of between one and five million per mile.
Congress allocated funds to build the wall in the Rio Grande Valley, but the government now says it needs more. CBP is investing in 600 million of the Treasury Confiscation Fund, which retains money seized in criminal investigations.
Some extra money will be used to build the tallest wall and 10 more miles. There have also been "higher project costs due to unforeseen site conditions", that is, serious filtration problems where the wall of the dike crosses a channel that flows into the Rio Grande.
These additional costs came to light in a recent statement made by Loren Flossman, head of the CBP wall. He also said the agency needs more money to cover the growing expense of acquiring privately owned spaces under the wall.
Taking private lands through an eminent domain involves multiple agencies, including the Department of Justice, and may result in lawsuits. The process "significantly increases the obstacles that the government has to face," said Scott Nicol, a long-time opponent of the project with the Sierra Club in the Rio Grande Valley.
"Where you have private property and the government has to go through the courts to obtain that property, it takes much longer and increases the cost because you have to pay for that land. You have to send lawyers from the Department of Justice to get that land," he said. Nicol.
By mid-January, the government had built 101 miles of border wall. One hundred miles of this is replacement or secondary wall; only one mile has been built where there were no barriers before.
Contrary to President Trump's claims, the wall is not "climbing at record speed." In fact, construction has been delayed months due to the complexities of acquiring private land in South Texas.
The massive wall projects that are currently underway are fully funded, mainly due to the president's willingness to bypass a challenging Congress.
During the last two budget cycles, a House controlled by the Democrats authorized 2,750 billion dollars for the wall, much less than Trump asked. Then the president closed the government, declared a state of emergency and diverted billions more from the Department of Defense to pay for his wall.
Promigrating groups quickly sued, and initially managed to obtain federal court orders to block military funding for the wall. But conservative majorities both in the US Supreme Court. UU., As in the federal court of appeals of New Orleans suspended the mandates and let the administration proceed with the construction.
"I mean, with all due respect to the president, he is obsessed with this wall," said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, Texas, who is part of the House Assignments Committee. "It's a campaign promise, and what happened to Mexico paying for this?" He asked.
Democrats say they want border security, but the way to do it is with labor and technology, not with steel and concrete. "I live on the border. I don't want to see chaos. I want to see law and order on the border." Cuellar continued. "But I don't want to spend billions of dollars on those federal contractors," he concluded.
Federal contractors are mostly giant construction companies with experience in managing complex federal projects. Then there is Fisher Sand & Gravel. The North Dakota company won a $ 400 million wall contract after executive director Tommy Fisher turned to Fox News, a channel Trump frequently watches, to show off how he could build the wall faster and faster. cheaper on the border of California.
"For the current fence they are currently building in Calexico, the government has basically been given 300 days to build two miles. With a team, we can build 15 miles in a year," Fisher explained to a Fox interviewer.
Now, the Pentagon inspector general is reviewing the contract. The auditors want to know if the White House directed him to Fisher, who says his offer was the best.
Trump says the border wall is "very powerful." But recognize that it is vulnerable
Traffickers opened gaps in new sections of the border wall with saws worth $ 100, according to a report