Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech promised the construction of 500 miles of the border wall by “early next year” — a delay from the much-touted goal of completing the wall by November 2020.
Trump’s State of the Union address draft said:
… Our already very-strongly guarded southern border where, as we speak, a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built. We have now completed over 100 miles and will have over 500 miles fully completed by early next year.
But Trump departed from the text of his draft, dropping a verb, and said the 500 miles will be completed “in a very short period of time.” He said:
Our already very-strongly guarded southern border where, as we speak, a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built. We have now completed over 100 miles and have over 500 miles fully completed in a very short period of time. Early next year, we will have substantially more than 500 miles completed.
Construction of the border wall is behind schedule, in part, because of weak support by the GOP, strong opposition by Democrats, activists’ lawsuits, and the practical difficulty of building many miles of border wall through deserts.
In January, Breitbart News reported:
Chad Wolf, the acting chief of the Department of Homeland Security, admitted last week that the agency will not meet the president’s target of 450 miles by election day. “I can tell you right now that we remain confident that we are on track to [reach] 400, 450 miles that are either completed or under construction by the end of 2020,” Wolf told attendees at a January 10 press conference in Yuma, Arizona.
However, Trump’s tough diplomatic deals with Mexico and Central America has slashed the arrival of migrants, from 145,000 migrants in May 2019, down to 30,000 in January 2020. Few of the migrants are released into the United States, partly because most of the migrants can be swiftly sent back to Mexico or Guatemala.
He said, “Before I came into office, if you showed up illegally on our southern border and were arrested, you were simply released and allowed into our country, never to be seen again. My Administration has ended catch and release.” Trump continued, “If you come illegally, you will now be promptly removed from our country. We entered into historic cooperation agreements with the Governments of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. As a result of our unprecedented efforts, illegal crossings are down 75 percent since May — dropping eight straight months in a row. And as the wall goes up, drug seizures rise, and border crossings go down, and going down very rapidly.”