Mark Morgan, Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), told reporters on Thursday that construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico continues on a daily basis, with hundreds of miles projected to be completed by year’s end.
“The United States Army Corps of Engineers and CBP are actually moving faster than ever,” Morgan said. “The last few months … we’re putting more wall system in place every single day than we have before.” He went on to say:
We’re now up to 265 miles — I’ve probably got to check right now, we probably added a mile or two since I put this down in my talking points. And we remain confident by the end of this year, we’ve been saying for a very long time, even though we’ve had a lot of naysayers out there, by end of this year, we’re going to have 450 miles of new border wall system in the ground, and America will be safer because of it.
Morgan said that in addition to keeping people from entering the United States illegally, the wall is protecting Americans from further spread of the coronavirus.
Moreover, Morgan said, a directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under Title 42 allows border agents who apprehend illegal crossers to turn them back within hours rather than bring them into United States detention centers— logistics that would be “catastrophic” to both migrants and CBP personnel during a pandemic.
“Oganizations like CBP need the tools like title 42, during an infectious disease pandemic, to effectively do our jobs to protect the American people,” Morgan said, adding that the CDC directive does not fall under immigration enforcement but public health policy designed to protect the American people.
Morgan said the wall has reduced the number of people being admitted into the U.S. by more than 90 percent.
Reporters at the press conference, including Breitbart News, asked about claims that the new public health policy is preventing people with legitimate asylum claims from getting into the United States.
“We’re still absolutely meeting and maintaining our refoulement (not forcibly returning migrants to their country where they could face lethal retribution),” obligation Morgan said. “If someone proactively states that they have fear of torture [if] returned to their country, we are absolutely meeting that obligation.”
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