The Trump administration is reportedly going to court in order to complete the U.S.-Mexico border wall, not letting the coronavirus pandemic get in the way of its most lauded campaign goal.
While the coronavirus crisis has altered the way of life for most of the country’s workforce, the Trump administration is only gaining steam in its effort to build barriers along the southern border, according to federal court records reviewed by Reuters. The White House repeatedly turned to the courts to seize land from private owners.
The administration has opened 41 federal court cases to obtain land along the southern border in the past year. Sixteen of those cases, or 39%, were filed in the past two months — in the heat of the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic.
A majority of the filings took place in March, according to Reuters, when the White House opened up 12 cases. That month marked more than any other during Trump’s presidency.
More specifically, the White House is seeking immediate possession of land so it can build the border wall. Most of these cases are taking place in Texas where — unlike in other border states — much of the territory next to the Mexican border is occupied by private landowners.
“The wall is continuing to be built! Construction teams are self-contained and are continuing to work,” Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said earlier in April. Cuccinelli had cautioned that, even during the immense progress, construction workers were taking precautions during the outbreak.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is keeping the public abreast of progress in real-time.
Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott on Monday announced that 158 miles of completed border wall since the beginning of the Trump administration. The announcement marked a seven-mile increase from Scott’s last update on April 6, when he revealed that 151 miles of wall had been built.
That meant roughly seven miles had been built in a week’s time — one mile per day.
However, not everyone is thrilled about the progress. A group of more than 90 congressional Democrats — many of whom had long been opponents of the proposal — have formally requested the Trump administration discontinue border wall construction during the coronavirus pandemic. (RELATED: Jeff Sessions Calls For Ban On All Employment-Based Immigration During Coronavirus Crisis)
“Money should be invested in healthcare, small businesses, and fighting the spread of COVID-19, not used to build an ineffective and wasteful border wall that does not solve our immigration crisis or protect our homeland,” the lawmakers wrote in an April 15 letter.
“We should be using all resources and funding to combat this virus and protect Americans,” they continued.
Nevertheless, the administration is carrying on with its most lauded campaign promise. The White House is aiming to construct roughly 400 or so miles of border wall before the end of 2020.
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