Studies indicate: The U.S.- Mexico border wall could disrupt wildlife
Lawmakers reach agreement in principle on interim budget, but wall funding could be a stumbling block
During the 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump found a reliable way to change the mood of the audience in his political actions. As the president of the editorial board of the New York Times said, as soon as the audience’s interest begins to fade, he just needs to say: “We will build a wall”, and everyone “gets on their ears.”.
Headlines this week are rife with news of impeachment hearings, and the wall could once again come in handy for Trump as a distraction. Lawmakers reached agreement in principle to pass an interim budget to avoid closing the federal government on Thursday, in hopes that congressional and White House officials can take advantage of the 30-day grace period to agree on government spending for the entire fiscal year..
The issue of financing the wall promised by the president may become a stumbling block.
Last year, Democrats refused to allocate $ 5 billion for construction, resulting in a 35-day shutdown.
So when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed optimism about the budget negotiations on Sunday’s Face to the Nation program, she was immediately asked if that meant Democrats were willing to fund the wall. Pelosi replied with a categorical “no” and expressed the opinion that the president is actually not so determined.
“The president has not built a single new wall during his entire tenure,” she said. “I think his comments about the wall are just a way to get applause at political rallies, but not an idea that he takes seriously.”.
Pelosi’s words touched on a central issue in relation to the wall: widespread misunderstanding of its current status..
President Trump says construction is underway. Both on Twitter and in public speeches, he regularly notes “tremendous progress” in the construction of the fence. In September, a Defense Ministry spokesman made a statement indicating that new sections of the wall are being built at a speed of 1 mile per day..
However, in reality, this is not quite the case..
On Friday, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters that 78 miles (125 km) of the wall had already been built. At the same time, after further questions, he admitted that we are talking about 78 miles of wall in place of existing obstacles..
At the same time, he added that work began in certain areas of the Rio Grande Valley, where at the moment there are no obstacles..
Analysts predict that it may take several years before the government can begin construction on many sites, since it does not own the land. Plots of land along the border with Mexico are owned by hundreds of individuals, and to begin construction on their land, the administration must either convince the owners to sell it to the state, or use the sovereign right to reserve land for state needs and take the land without the consent of the owners..
Many owners say they do not want to sell their land, either because they oppose the construction of the wall, or for other reasons. The Trump administration made it clear that as early as this week, court documents may begin to alienate land from those owners who are not ready to part with it..
According to NBC News, the government plans to take advantage of an expedited process to avoid lengthy litigation. Success will depend on the existence of an emergency situation that justifies the deprivation of the owners of the right to challenge the alienation in court.
Morgan, speaking with reporters, noted that the process will be difficult, but noted: “I still believe that we are on the way to getting the land needed to build 450 miles (724 km) of the new wall.”.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is discussing a new way to raise public awareness of the wall. Reportedly, son-in-law and presidential adviser Jared Kushner suggested installing cameras that would allow to monitor construction online..
Both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Customs and Border Service have spoken out against the idea, which the president himself is promoting, according to the Washington Post. The idea is to rebuff critics who regularly argue that the wall is more of a PR stunt than a serious aspect of immigration policy..
The proposal immediately drew criticism from Democrats, who insist that the installation of the cameras is just a publicity stunt for the president ahead of the election. Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey, who is competing for the Democratic presidential nomination, co-sponsored a bill to ban the use of federal funds to install cameras.
“The only more pointless and wasteful undertaking than building an ineffective wall is installing a camera to broadcast its construction live,” he said..
Democrats’ argument that the wall is ineffective has received additional reinforcement this month, with many media outlets confirming that drug dealers have found a way to get through the wall using a portable saw that can be bought at a hardware store for under $ 100..