Trump administration may not hit 2020 border wall goal, official says

By Ted Hesson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.

Reuters December 18, 2019 03:10:29 IST
Trump administration may not hit 2020 border wall goal, official says

Trump administration may not hit 2020 border wall goal official says

By Ted Hesson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's administration may fall short of its promise to build 450 miles of wall along the U.S. border with Mexico by the end of next year, a top official said on Tuesday.

Trump made the construction of a border wall a centerpiece of his 2016 election campaign, and has continued to focus on building a wall as he seeks re-election next year.

"Our goal at the end of 2020 was 450 miles," Mark Morgan, acting commission for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told reporters. "It's hard right now to be able to say whether we're still going to be able to meet that goal, but I'm confident that we're going to be close."

Morgan said that 93 miles of wall had been built so far during the Trump administration. At least 90 miles of that replaced existing structures, according to CBP figures - although Morgan argued during the briefing that all barriers built under Trump should be considered "new."

A U.S. federal court order handed down last week that blocks the administration from transferring $3.6 billion (£2.81 billion) in military construction funds to build a border wall could negatively affect the timeline if the ruling is not quickly lifted by an appeals court, Morgan said.

Trump administration officials have said for months that they aim to build 450 miles of new and replacement wall by November 2020, when the presidential election will be held.

Trump himself has been less exact. He said in April he expected his administration would build "close to 400 miles" of wall within a roughly two-year timeframe. But during a September news conference at the border in San Diego, he said the anticipation was that nearly 500 miles would completed by the end of 2020.

The $3.6 billion in military construction funds that have been blocked for use for a border wall represent roughly a third of the approximately $10 billion that the Trump administration has obtained for wall construction.

A spending package passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday would maintain funding for border barriers at $1.37 billion, which Morgan indicated would be used for wall construction.

The Senate is expected to take up the spending package before current funding expires at the end of the week.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Leslie Adler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:


also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.