(USA Features) The Department of Homeland Security noted on Friday that an additional miles of border wall have been built in recent weeks even as the country focuses on the worsening coronavirus outbreak.
After the virus was detected in the U.S. in January, some 40 miles of border fencing and barriers have been completed, according to Border Patrol data viewed by the Washington Times.
More than half that distance was built since earlier February since the president announced a second stream of money was being funneled to border wall construction from the Pentagon.
Also last week, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf approved an additional half-dozen waivers to speed wall construction in sections all along the U.S.-Mexico boundary, as new contracts for additional segments of wall were announced.
“Border security is national security,” Rusty Payne, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, told the Times, adding that construction remains on track to meet the target the president laid out.
“We have completed 142 miles of new border wall system and we have another 197 miles under construction. In addition, there are 414 miles in the pre-construction phase. We remain confident we will have 450 miles completed by the end of 2020,” he said.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said continuing to build the wall is appropriate.
“Today is not the time to play politics with the lives of U.S. Citizens. Walls have proven to stop illegal entries into the United States, therefore they are an essential law enforcement resource which will undoubtedly help in reducing the spread of COVID-19,” he told the Times.