On Wednesday, President Trump talked up the continuous efforts to build new barriers along the southern border along with Mexico, saying he expects the design to be complete in critical areas by the end of next year. Conversing to journalists in the Oval Office, Trump said construction is progressing along “rapidly” and that he presumes “close to 500 miles of the wall” to be “almost, if not complete by the end of next year,” precisely “just after the election.”
Trump said, “We’re building different regions simultaneously,” declaring that by the end of 2020 there will be barriers up that will “take care of all the sections we wanted,” along with “some of the marginal areas” that were of an inconsequentiality. Various models of barriers already have existed beside 654 miles, which is about a third of the border. The administration has bestowed $2.8 billion in contracts for walls covering 247 miles, with all but seventeen miles of that to restore existing walls rather than expanding coverage.
President Trump’s statement comes right after the Pentagon administrators reported that Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense signed off on $3.6 billion in Defense Department production funds for 175 miles of wall on the border, told Fox News. The president referenced the Supreme Court’s August ruling that opened the way for the administration to use about $2.5 billion after funding had been stopped by lower courts while a lawsuit was advancing.
Trump had ordered $155 million to be redirected to border facilities from FEMA disaster relief. When questioned if he was still content with this choice, given the continuous presence of Hurricane Dorian, Trump pointed out that the hurricane so far has not needed the level of action the government predicted. “Than anticipated, we are using much less here,” Trump stated, as executives had originally expected Dorian to hit Florida much more severely than it has. Pete Gaynor, the acting FEMA Administrator, said Sunday, as Dorian made its way, that his bureau was well equipped to address the difficulties posed by the storm, despite the money being redirected to the border.
Gaynor told Fox News Sunday, “We have plenty of money and resources. The loss of that money is not affecting our preparedness whatsoever for Dorian.”