The entire world has been thrown into chaos and uncertainty because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But don’t think that this going to slow down President Trump’s wall along the US-Mexico border one bit.
In mid-March, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they would construct over 150 miles of the wall in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. This is in addition to work on the wall that is continuing at more than 15 other sites.
“Wall construction has not been affected [by the coronavirus],” a CBP spokesman said in a report that was published by The Guardian.
President Trump declared a national emergency in February 2019 after encountering resistance from House Democrats over his planned wall, which was his chief campaign promise in 2016. This allowed the administration to divert funds from the US Department of Defense to fund the project, which has been deemed essential for the protection of American workers and of its ordinary citizens from crime committed by illegal immigrants.
The funds, totaling approximately $18.5 billion, are being used to build 450 to 500 miles of the wall by the end of this year. The project is being overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Construction workers involved in the project are staying at local hotels and motels, working together in teams and car-pooling on the way to work and back each day. Some of them are being paid higher salaries than usual so that they can work nights to ensure that the project is completed on time.
Border protection has now become more important than ever because of the coronavirus outbreak, with illegal immigrants feared to be bringing the virus with them when they cross into the US. In response, the border has been closed to all but essential traffic, and illegals who are caught trying to enter the US are being returned immediately to Mexico rather than being detained. This is to minimize the risk to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, as well as to the immigrants themselves, who would be forced to spend long periods of time in closed quarters together.
It is to be hoped that this level of concern with completing the wall will be maintained even after the coronavirus crisis has passed. American lives are at stake, being threatened both by the coronavirus as well as by illegal immigrants.