by Jason Hopkins
Progress on the border wall between the United States and Mexico has continued unabated, despite a worldwide pandemic that has halted most other functions of daily life.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is moving ahead with construction projects along the U.S. Mexico border — doling out contracts and allowing companies to put up fencing — despite growing calls among Democrats to halt work while the United States deals with the spread of COVID-19.
Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott on Monday announced that 151 miles of border wall have been completed since the dawn of the Trump administration, along with nearly 200 miles under construction, and 400 miles in the “pre-construction” phase. The update revealed that construction is taking place at a rather rapid pace.
Scott’s last update — which was posted on March 30 — revealed that 147 miles of southern border wall had been completed. The numbers indicate that roughly four miles of border wall have been built in just a week’s time.
“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 on Tuesday. Cuccinelli was touting the progress made thus far while stressing that the agency is taking precautions from the coronavirus.
The Trump administration has long made it a goal to build 400 or so miles before the November elections — and officials have given no indication that COVID-19 is going to hinder their ambitions.
While speaking at a news conference alongside President Donald Trump on April 1, Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf said the administration is continuing to put up miles of wall “everyday,” and added that they are still on track to complete 400 to 450 miles by the end of the calendar year.
The persistent results are largely a reflection of the fact that CBP never stopped making border security a priority, and has continued to rack up major drug busts and criminal apprehensions while the rest of the country remains largely indoors.
Border security has actually become substantially tighter amid the COVID-19 crisis, with the Trump administration declaring both the southern and northern borders to be closed for all non-essential travel, and all illegal aliens would be immediately returned back. The directive has resulted in a major drop in illegal crossings.
However, not everyone is thrilled that wall construction is continuing on. Over 40 House Democrats signed onto a letter, delivered on Friday, requesting the White House to “immediately” cease wall construction as the country deals with the coronavirus.
“Key federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, should be prioritizing COVID-19 response to stop the spread of the virus, assist local communities, and prevent the deaths of thousands of Americans,” the letter read.
Democrats are asking for all DHS resources to be devoted to the pandemic. Nevertheless, the admiration maintains that border security is an integral facet to combating the spread of COVID-19.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.