The Trump administration is on pace to complete some 450 miles of new border barrier by the time the 2020 election rolls around, helping to fulfill one of the president’s key 2016 campaign pledges.
“The project will substantially be done by the end of the year or early next year,” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said in an interview Friday with POLITICO. “That was a promise, and it’s important that it’s now being accomplished.”
Last year, after being repeatedly challenged in federal court and after failing to convince majority Democrats in the House of the migrant crisis along the southwestern border, President Trump declared a national emergency, allowing him to divert funds from the Pentagon’s unassigned accounts for new wall construction.
POLITICO reported that the administration is concentrating its building efforts on four locations along the U.S.-Mexico border most heavily trafficked by illegal immigrants, according to a White House official.
Recently, even some members of the administration weren’t sure there would be 450 miles of new fencing and barrier completely by year’s end.
However, Kushner told the news site that construction has already been completed on 122 miles of wall as of Friday.
Also Friday, the president said during a meeting with members of the Border Patrol Council at the White House that border crossings were down dramatically from highs last year. In some places where new walls have been built, they are “virtually 100 percent effective,” the president said.
“Illegal border crossings have dropped eight straight months in a row — that’s a big number,” he added. “Illegal crossings are down over 75 percent since last spring. And this is despite the fact that we have the strongest economy in the history of the country.”