The Department of Defense announced this week that they have awarded the first two construction contracts to companies that will commence building new barriers across the southern border. SLSCO Ltd. and Barnard Construction Company will begin building the wall with their combined $976 million in funding from the Pentagon. The completion date for the two separate projects has been scheduled for October 2020, just ahead of the next election.
The contracts were awarded to the companies by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which has re-allocated funds intended for Army personnel accounts into counter-drug accounts that include authorization to construct border barriers. Democrats in Congress have thrown an absolute fit about this re-allocation, though there is no law preventing the Pentagon from shifting money around in this fashion. Some in Congress have threatened to strip the Defense Department of the right to make this kind of shift in the future, demonstrating just how sore they are about the fact that Trump is going to build this wall with or without their approval.
Immediate construction will take place across 46 miles in El Paso and an additional 11 miles of new fencing in Yuma. According to a spokesman for the DoD, the El Paso contract calls for “30-foot bollard fencing and a five-foot anti-climb plate” while the Yuma section will be identical except that the fencing will only be 18 feet tall.
The Trump administration has said that more will be coming – the Pentagon intends to shift another $1.5 billion in funds towards construction at the border in the coming months. All of this money is separate from the $3.6 billion in construction funds that Trump is aiming to repurpose with his declaration of a national emergency back in February. That executive order is currently being challenged in the courts.
Awarding wall contracts will likely not be the full extent of the Pentagon’s involvement with the growing migrant crisis at the border. In comments to reporters this week, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he expects that the military will play an expanded role as the migrant situation continues to worsen.
“We’re still working with DHS to understand, enduring wise, what’s the best fit and role for us and how do we help make sure that DHS can stand up the right capability,” he said. “But just strictly on the basis of the volume and how much the situation there has deteriorated, I would expect us to do more.”
The president is doing everything in his power to tackle this crisis with his executive authority and his role as commander-in-chief. He’s cleaning house at the Department of Homeland Security to make sure he has men and women who are ready to solve this problem using all the means available to the Executive Branch.
But the fact remains that until the Democrats stop playing games with our nation’s security, there is only so much Trump can do. We hope voters are paying close attention to the left’s inaction and that they will hold it against them next November. Their immigration obstruction is an affront to every single U.S. citizen, and it is making our nation worse by the day.