President Donald Trump campaigned on his promise to start construction of a wall along the nation’s border with Mexico, and one major goal in that process was met just weeks before the end of his first term in the White House.
According to acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan, the Trump administration completed 450 miles of the barrier as of last month.
“What we set out to accomplish”
That figure represented a goal for the administration to reach by the end of last year, which Morgan confirmed had been accomplished in the final days of December.
“Myself and the deputy commissioner, leaders here, we found out about it — we were briefed on Dec. 31 that we had actually reached the goal, and we had accomplished what we set out to accomplish,” he said in a recent statement.
While Morgan said he remained confident that the administration would reach the goal, many others had been skeptical.
Although Trump accomplished the goal set for 2020, he has fallen short of the campaign forecast of completing 1,000 miles of the wall.
Of course, lawmakers have worked to block some of the funding that would have been necessary to reach that target. So far, 738 miles of construction has been funded, including more than $1 billion approved for 2021.
“The president listened”
Most of the construction completed thus far has been to replace or reinforce existing fencing. Only about 40 miles of the wall built so far has covered new stretches of the border.
As acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf explained in a statement on Tuesday, the president “took office with the promise to build the wall and secure our southern border,” noting that he has fulfilled that vow.
“From the start, the president listened to operators on the ground and has pushed for funding for physical infrastructure, access roads, lights, cameras, and sensors — a full package to secure our border,” Wolf added.
Trump also promised Mexico would pay for the wall’s construction. While Mexico did not directly fund the project, the president has credited his renegotiated trade agreement as a way to hold the nation financially responsible.
With Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden expected to take over the executive branch on Inauguration Day, however, the future of the wall — along with other immigration policies enacted by Trump — remains uncertain.