‘Walls Work’: DHS Celebrates 100 Miles of New Border Wall

Construction workers install a new section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall on June 19, 2018, in California.

By Published on January 13, 2020

YUMA, Ariz. — Top officials within the Department of Homeland Security visited southern Arizona Friday to commemorate the completion of 100 miles of new border wall.

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf stopped by the U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma Friday and delivered a speech in recognition of the important milestone: 100 miles of completed border wall since the beginning of the Trump administration. Republican Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, Republican Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls and numerous Border Patrol officials joined Wolf.

“Today, as a milestone has been reached, a celebration is in order. Today I am proud to report that the Trump administration has now constructed 100 miles of new border wall system on the southern border,” Wolf said. “This is a milestone achievement for the president, the department, and more importantly for our country.”

In plain sight behind the acting secretary was newly built border wall, which stood roughly 30-feet high and had anti-climbing plates. Adjacent to the new wall was the older — and much smaller — anti-vehicle barrier, which stood at about waist-high. Much of the new border wall that’s been built has replaced these small vehicular walls or otherwise dilapidated barriers.

Some critics have argued that the Trump administration hasn’t actually built much new wall, but is simply replacing old wall. The acting secretary pushed back against this narrative.

“One thing I want to emphasize: Every inch of the 100 miles that we have constructed is new border wall system. It’s not so-called ‘replacement’ wall as some our critics claim,” Wolf said.

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“It is new wall,” he added and argued that one wouldn’t call the completion of a five-bedroom house in place of a rundown shack a “replacement” house — one would call it a “new” house.

When asked what they need to make their jobs easier, Border Patrol officials everywhere tell the DHS chief that they need a border wall, he explained.

The location of Yuma for the commemorative event held heavy symbolic value. The mayor of the border town declared a state of emergency in April 2019 as local services were unable to cope with the sheer volume of illegal aliens arriving on a daily a basis. However, the mayor withdrew the state of emergency in December and directly credited the Trump administration with implementing directives that led to the stabilization of the border crisis.

Illegal crossings have plummeted across the southern border in recent months. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that the month of December witnessed a total of 40,620 enforcement actions — the seventh straight month of declines in apprehensions. These numbers are a far cry from when the border crisis reached its peak in May, where CBP officials saw more than 144,000 enforcement actions.

The Trump administration was given a major win late Wednesday when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s ruling, allowing the White House to use military funds to pay for border wall construction. The administration ultimately wants to see over 400 miles of new wall built by the end of 2020, but court battles, opposition from Democratic lawmakers and government red tape have slowed these efforts.

Wolf, for his part, hammered his position that physical barriers are an essential part of securing the U.S.-Mexico border.

“As the chief said, to put it simply, walls work. Looking at wall construction historically, we see that walls go up, illegal apprehensions and illegal crossings go down,” Wolf said. “A wall system went up in San Diego, illegal crossings went down 27%. A wall system went up in Tucson [Arizona], illegal crossings went down 24%. Here in Yuma, when the wall system went up, illegal crossings in that area decreased by over 78%.”

“I said it before and I’ll say it again: Walls work. The facts simply do not lie,” he said.

 

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