Trump administration officials plan to announce today that they have completed construction on 100 miles of new barriers along the border with Mexico, but their benchmark underscores how far construction crews still have to go to fulfill the president’s pledge to finish 450 miles by the end of 2020, according to The Hill.
Chad Wolf, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is traveling to Yuma, Arizona, to make the announcement, according to DHS officials. Senior border officials and U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz, The Washington Post reported.
The announcement will come just days after a federal appeals court in New Orleans lifted a lower court injunction that had frozen $3.6 billion the White House diverted for the project from military construction funds.
The Wednesday decision will allow the White House to access $3.6 billion for the wall, a key campaign promise from the president’s 2016 election and a centerpiece of his 2020 campaign.
A district court judge in El Paso ruled last month that the administration did not have the authority to spend money allocated by Congress for a different purpose. But the appeals court ruled the administration can use the money – approximately one third of the $11 billion the administration has obtained so far for the “border wall” – while legal challenges to make their way through federal courts.
The court also said there was a “substantial likelihood” that the parties challenging the funding transfer – the county of El Paso, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights – lacked standing to sue the Trump administration.
Trump celebrated the decision in a tweet, sharing “Breaking News: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four Billion Dollars. Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!”
Breaking News: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four Billion Dollars. Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2020
Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told reporters “It’s hard right now to be able to say whether we’re still going to be able to meet that goal, but I’m confident that we’re going to be close.”