Listen Here to “Building Boom: Border Wall Still Going Up”
As President Donald Trump continues to contest the 2020 presidential election, his signature 2016 campaign promise—a southern border wall—continues to grow by the day. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports steady progress on the wall, with 426 miles finished as of Dec. 15, putting it on pace to meet the year-end goal of 450 miles.
In order to meet that year-end goal, crews have had to pick up the pace of construction in recent weeks. “They’re working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, putting up as much wall as they possibly can, as fast as they can,” says Todd Bensman, senior fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies. “The wall is going up, it’s having a significant impact on the other side, on immigration and drug flows…so it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing.”
The big question looming now is what happens to all of this when (if) Joe Biden takes office on January 20th. Biden pledged during the campaign to halt all construction on the wall. But that may be easier said than done, since the government’s current wall construction contracts run through 2022. “If the government tries to cancel those contracts prior to 2022, then there can be litigation for penalties owed,” says Bensman. “Those penalties would cost more than building a mile of wall.”
At the same time, some on the far left want Biden to go beyond simply halting construction and to actually bring down the wall. Bensman thinks that is nothing but a pipe dream. “It would be very expensive to tear the wall down, and there would be political repercussions for that too, because a lot of people support that wall,” he says. “And I don’t think it’s going to get torn down.”