President Trump, obviously growing impatient with the slow progress made in constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, has put his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of expediting the project.
A report in the Washington Post noted that Kushner convenes biweekly meetings in the West Wing, where he is questioning government officials about progress on constructing the wall. As part of that process, Kushner receives regular updates on reports from contractors, including exactly where each section of the wall will be built and how funding is being spent.
Kushner also shares and explains the president’s demands with the group, according to the officials familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.
The Post reported that Kushner — who has told other West Wing officials that he is in charge of the project — has been pressing U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the process of taking over private land needed for the project. He will do everything possible to achieve Trump’s goal of erecting 450 miles of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of 2020. The report cited unnamed officials who said that more than 800 filings to seize private property will need to be made in the coming months if the government is going to meet its deadline.
Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that seeks to restrict immigration, told the Post: “The point is to get as much built in the next year or so, so the president can say in the face of intense, almost demented opposition he has made reasonable progress.”
The report also quoted Mark Morgan, Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who said Kushner has expedited decisions on land acquisitions and construction issues and was key to bringing everyone together in the same room.
“He doesn’t need to know the intricacies of the wall. He understands building stuff. He understands timelines,” Morgan said.
President Trump campaigned on a promise to construct a wall along the southern border, but has not been able to get Congress to provide the funding he has requested due to Democratic opposition in the House. As a result, the president has had to rely on alternative sources of funding that are inadequate to complete the project and progress has been frustratingly slow.
Some existing barriers have been replaced with sturdier structures, but only limited areas of new wall have been constructed. Nevertheless, as The New American noted last month, the wall is going up.
According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 76 miles of new wall are complete, 157 miles are under construction, and another 276 miles are in preconstruction. CBP also stated: “Since the completion of the border wall system in Calexico, overall crime in the area has been reduced making the community a safer place to live and to work. Areas once considered dangerous are now secure.”
Photo: AP Images
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