U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has constructed about 307 miles of its border wall system, a considerable increase in the number of completed miles since the beginning of the summer.
As recently as late June, only about 200 miles of the barrier had been completed.
CPB reports that about 456,000 tons of steel and 658,000 cubic yards of concrete have been used for the construction of the barrier.
Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, reported at an event in Yuma, Arizona on August 18 that the federal government is building 10 miles of the border wall system weekly.
“We talked about the 300-mile mark, but what you might not know is that this administration has basically funded us for 733 miles,” Semonite said.
He explained that another 300 miles of the project was under construction at various locations along the border with Mexico, saying that “the last 133 are in design and acquisition.”
CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan praised the border wall system, pointing to its national security value.
“[W]hat you see behind me has saved American lives. Every single bit of concrete and steel that goes into the ground, the operational capacity of the men and women you’re seeing right here goes exponentially higher to stop dangerous things and people from coming into this country,” Morgan said.
“Drugs — drugs alone — what this wall does is it helps us shape the behavior of the cartels. It puts us in an offensive position … Because of that, this year — year, to date — we’ve seized over a million pounds of drugs.”
In January, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with President Trump in a federal lawsuit, effectively allowing the Trump Administration to use Defense Department funding for the border wall system.
A federal judge in El Paso had barred the federal government in December from using the Department of Defense’s (DOD) coin to pay for President Trump’s central campaign promise.
Opponents of the border wall say Trump’s use of DOD funds for its construction is improper, contending it should be left up to Congress whether to appropriate additional funds for the border security project.
While Congress only appropriated $1.38 billion for the border wall proposal, President Trump declared a national emergency last year and diverted more funds to the project without congressional approval.
Following the appellate court’s decision, Defense Secretary Mark Esper moved $3.8 billion from Navy and Air Force programs to the border wall project, a move that faced bipartisan criticism.
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