Trump catching Yuma 3.10
The president is headed to Arizona today to mark 200 miles of wall being built along the U.S. southwest border with Mexico, in an area where teams have built dozens of miles of new fences amid a breach of coronavirus and protests from opponents who say construction is destroying important habitats
Trump will be joined by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who was also in Yuma in January to celebrate the 100-mile competition. Wolf called the wall system “an undeniable impediment to smugglers, traffickers, and other criminals who have exploited our lack of effective border infrastructure to smuggle drugs, illicit products, and participate in human trafficking.”
The agency says it has completed 61 miles of border wall and plans to build another 109 miles in that rugged wilderness area. Most of the new fence he has climbed is 30 feet tall.
The Trump administration has promised to build 450 miles of border wall by the end of the year, with the help of relaxed acquisition laws that allow the government to award contracts to construction companies without much investigation. The government has awarded more than $ 6.1 billion (£ 4.8 billion) in construction contracts since April 2019, according to a count by the Government Oversight Project, an independent, nonpartisan watchdog.
Construction has continued despite a coronavirus outbreak that has hit the Yuma area hard and amid opposition from environmentalists and Native American tribes.
“Trump’s racist border wall has marked our public lands, destroyed cultural sites for indigenous peoples and has brought wildlife closer to extinction,” said Brett Hartl, chief political strategist at the Center for the Biodiversity Action Fund. “With the country’s economy ruined and the coronavirus cases in Arizona, his visit is an economic political campaign stunt that only reveals how disconnected he is.”
The pandemic does not stop plans for more border barriers anywhere.
In South Texas, where most border lands are privately owned, the Justice Department has sued dozens of property owners to inspect or confiscate their wall-building properties, including a nun-run orphanage in Laredo.
The teams have built several small sections, but have not yet come close to completing the wall through Laredo or the Rio Grande Valley, the southernmost point in Texas. Most of the land in the United States next to the Rio Grande, the river that separates Texas and Mexico, still doesn’t have a wall.
Even without a wall, border crossings have fallen dramatically in the Rio Grande Valley since late last year due to a series of policy changes enacted by the Trump administration.
On the south side of the Rio Grande River, thousands of asylum seekers live in shelters, churches and a sprawling refugee camp awaiting their cases in immigration courts. Others have been expelled to their countries of origin without due process due to an emergency border closure enacted in the coronavirus pandemic.
After his tour of the border wall on Tuesday, Trump will head to Phoenix to speak at a Student for Trump convention at Dream City Church.