In final ceremony before election, DHS chief commemorates 400th kilometer of new border wall
McALLEN, Texas (Border report) – Five days before the presidential election, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf returned to South Texas on Thursday to commemorate the 400-mile border wall newly built by the Trump administration on the southwest border .
Wolf was flanked by Acting United States Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan and United States Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott and dozens of enforcement officers. laws from various agencies as he walked through the new 32-foot-tall black and shiny concrete wall and embraced its virtues. saying it helps deter drug dealers and human traffickers attempting to cross illegally from Mexico.
“Today’s event is a testament to delivering on promises President Trump made to the American people almost four years ago to secure our borders and reform a broken immigration system,” Wolf said during ‘a 14-minute speech under the gigantic steel structure during an ice age. Morning. “The progress we’re celebrating here is no accident. The many miles of border wall system exist because of the will and vision of President Trump, as well as the dedication and hard work of the men and women of DHS, the Army Corps of Engineers, and our colleagues at the whole administration.
When asked if the ceremony was an opportunity to praise Trump less than a week before the November 3 presidential election – especially since a New York Times / Siena College poll on Monday found Trump behind Democratic candidate former Texas Vice President Joe Biden – Wolf was on the defensive and said Thursday’s event had nothing to do with the election.
Wolf said he attended wall ceremonies in January for the 100th mile completion; in June for the 200th mile; in August for the 300th mile. And he has said he will have another ceremony when they reach the 450-mile goal they’ve set for the end of the year.
“Public safety shouldn’t be a political issue,” said Wolf, whose officers contacted media to attend Thursday’s event, the latest of several wall-building commemorative events held from California to Texas a few. just days before the elections.
Wolf said there are currently 210 miles of border wall under construction in the southwest, with new miles being completed daily. Much of the mileage is in Arizona on federal land where CBP and Army Corps of Engineers contractors have easy access and where dozens of environmental regulations have been lifted in the name of national security to build the wall. .
Wolf mentioned President Donald Trump more than a dozen times during his address to local, national and international media, in which he repeatedly criticized the media’s characterization of the Border Wall infrastructure system. and its need for agents.
“Our 400 mile journey was not easy. Promises have been made and promises have been kept, ”said Wolf. He said construction continued despite the coronavirus pandemic, adding “We will not rest until we finish the job.”
Morgan complained that Twitter deleted a tweet he posted yesterday praising the 400th mile, which he said was “an essential part of a decades-long multi-layered strategy.”
“They may have locked my Twitter account but they are not going to lock my voice,” Morgan said, adding that “locking my account does not pass the BS test.”
Thursday’s event took place under a newly completed 1.5 mile section of the border wall which is part of the 2.5 mile new wall being built on or near 23rd Street south of McAllen. This section will connect to an 11-mile project, called RGV04, which is being built by companies hired by CBP and the US Army Corps of Engineers as part of 22 miles of new border wall in the immediate area at a cost of approximately $ 300 million.
Morgan said if current immigration policies were changed or the border wall removed, then there would be an “illegal invasion” of the United States. Although neither he nor Wolf mentioned Biden directly, both threatened a futuristic lawless state under another administration, and Wolf went further by calling such actions “dangerous” and “endangering the life of the nation. border patrol and Americans across this country ”.
“We inherited a broken and outdated system that encouraged the trafficking of foreigners,” Wolf said. “The Trump administration has taken decisive action… The only reason we haven’t hit another crisis is because of the policies and procedures that this administration has put in place over the past few years, including building a ‘an effective border wall system. Clearly, these measures protect Americans because they work, because they work. Abolishing these measures or reversing the trend is absolutely not the way to go. But that is precisely what some of our detractors are proposing.
These measures protect Americans because they work, because they work. Abolishing these measures or reversing the trend is absolutely not the way to go. But that is precisely what some of our detractors are proposing.
Chad Wolf, Acting Homeland Security Secretary
If elected president, Biden has said he will no longer build border miles and dismantle immigration policies, such as the Migrant Protection Protocols program, also known as Stay in Mexico.
Morgan said on Thursday that if the MPP ended, the country would revert to “catch and release,” a policy used by the Obama administration that allowed apprehended undocumented migrants to live in the country under adjournment until their hearings. in immigration court.
“This president has given us more than just tools like the wall system,” Morgan said. “The network of policies and initiatives, like the MPP, which was the determining factor that led to the end of catches and releases. Through this network of initiatives, policies and tools, we have been able to regain the integrity of the immigration system. We have been able to fill many loopholes exploited by the smugglers and, quite frankly, the migrants themselves.
Thursday’s event was one of many hosted by DHS officials in recent days along the border. Wolf rode an ATV along a new border wall built in Southern California on Wednesday and gave Border Report an exclusive interview.
Last week, Morgan spoke to Border Report in El Paso and also praised the infrastructure of the border wall and the policies of the Trump administration as a way to protect all Americans.
On the left, a section of the new border wall at McAllen has been painted black as part of a “pilot project,” Border Patrol leader Rodney Scott said. Bottom right: The painted section is visible where it meets the traditional rusty bollards, commonly found in South Texas. (Border report photos / Sandra Sanchez)
When asked by Border Report why a section of the border wall where Thursday’s ceremony took place was painted black – and the rest of the metal bollards are rusted metal – Wolf said there was ” an effective reason why you would paint it black for the Border Patrol to better identify people and have that contrast.
Chief Scott then added that it was part of “officers’ initial testing to identify movement behind this wall based on that paint color.” He said the paint “takes on better contrast so officers can respond more quickly.”
When asked if the entire border wall would be painted black, he replied that it was a “pilot project” which would be used “where appropriate”.