A court ruling Wednesday blocked the Trump administration from starting border fence construction with redirected Pentagon funds to build 175 miles of barrier before they have even started.
A review of U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents about the state of border fence installation show more than a third of the 500 miles Department of Homeland Security leaders and President Trump have claimed will be complete by next December could not be built if the ruling stands.
On Wednesday, the DHS and the Pentagon were blocked in court from moving forward on $3.6 billion worth of border wall projects. U.S. District Judge for Northern California Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition that Trump abused his power by redirecting money for a nonmilitary project. The administration is appealing the decision.
The $3.6 billion is intended to fund 175 miles of fence in San Diego and El Centro, California, Yuma, Arizona, and El Paso and Laredo, Texas.
Rodney Scott, who Border Patrol officials tell the Washington Examiner will soon be named the agency’s chief, told Fox Business on Wednesday evening that the ruling is “unfortunate” and said the government has “several other funding sources in place” and “about 300 miles of border construction [is] ongoing.”
However, the ruling could mean the federal government can finish a maximum 325 miles by the end of Trump’s term, most of which will be replacement fence and additional barriers, not new miles of wall.
About 650 miles of the 2,000-mile southern border has some sort of barrier that prevents people or vehicles from entering between official crossing points. On many occasions as a candidate in 2015 and 2016, Trump said he would build 1,000 miles of “wall” at a total cost of $4 billion. That campaign promise, which vastly understated what it would cost, will not be met by December 2020, and Trump is unlikely to keep his vow to build 500 miles, either.
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