President Donald Trump assured his base that “the [w]all is getting done one way or the other” — which could include via emergency powers — on Twitter Thursday.
“Large sections of WALL have already been built with much more either under construction or ready to go,” he wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Renovation of existing WALLS is also a very big part of the plan to finally, after many decades, properly Secure Our Border. The Wall is getting done one way or the other!”
“Lets [sic] just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!” he added.
Trump entered contentious negotiations with congressional leaders this week after reopening the federal government Friday with no concessions on wall funding. They have until the temporary funding bill expires on Feb. 15 to come to an agreement.
Trump could declare a national emergency to build a southern border wall if both sides can’t reach a deal. That decision could be complicated by legal action from opponents of a wall. But his administration has been laying the “groundwork” for that route since as early as Jan. 10, according to a Washington Post report. WaPo reported:
The administration is eyeing unused money in the Army Corps of Engineers budget, specifically a disaster spending bill passed by Congress last year that includes $13.9 billion allocated but not spent for civil works projects, two people with knowledge of the developments said Thursday.
Trump got other news about his ability to fund a southern border wall Jan. 10. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service internally released a paper suggesting the president may have the authority to use Department of Defense resources to build a wall without obtaining congressional approval or declaring a state of emergency.
Trump pointed to startling murder statistics from Mexico to make his case that there are “humanitarian crises” at the U.S. southern border.
“Very sadly, Murder cases in Mexico in 2018 rose 33% from 2017, to 33,341,” Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday. “This is a big contributor to the Humanitarian Crises taking place on our Southern Border and then spreading throughout our Country. Worse even than Afghanistan. Much caused by DRUGS. Wall is being built!”
The numbers the president cited appear to come from a Jan. 22 Fox News story drawn from numbers from Mexico’s Interior Ministry. Fox News reported:
Information from the Interior Ministry revealed that investigators opened up 33,341 murder cases last year – more than 91 a day, almost four an hour; compared to 25,036 in 2017, according to Reuters.
Trump’s critics have accused him of lying when he makes claims that a wall is already “under construction.” An NPR fact check found that the president’s Dec. 11 claim that “we’re building new walls right now” rings true. The president discussed building and renovating border barriers, and NPR added:
In 2017, the president managed to secure about $1.6 billion for border protection projects, but they are primarily for fortifying existing border fencing, not expanding the current wall.
The U.S.-Mexico border is nearly 2,000 miles long, and about 650 miles of barriers like fencing or walls can be found in certain stretches along the border, according to The New York Times.
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