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Trump Border Wall Post-Shutdown Discussion (Wall-Fight)

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Aren't they supposed to do some type of environmental assessment?


New border wall near unique wetlands endangered water supply


The agency in charge of building the border wall received repeated warnings: tap water from nearby wells, and the unique wetlands of southeastern Arizona — yes, Arizona — home to a variety of wildlife and endangered fish will go dry.


Immigration officials didn’t head those warnings. Then, several ponds at the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge found themselves without water or with an extremely low supply, according to documents obtained by two different environmental groups.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency in charge of the refuge, said in a statement on Thursday that ponds “remain intact and the refuge continues to manage for endangered fish and wildlife.”


Contractors working for U.S. Customs and Border Protection began building a new stretch of border wall there in October, pumping millions of gallons of groundwater to mix cement for the 30-foot (9-meter) steel fencing that has been a signature promise of President Donald Trump. The Trump administration has promised to build 450 miles (724 kilometers) of wall along the border with Mexico by the end of this year; it has so far built 275 miles (443 kilometers).


The San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1982 to protect the rare wetlands in the middle of the desert that are home to a variety of wildlife, including several species of fish that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Sitting on over 2,300 acres on the U.S.-Mexico border in southeastern Arizona, close to New Mexico, the refuge is home to hummingbirds, 75 species of butterflies, bats and, most importantly, to fish native to Rio Yaqui, which the refuge was set up to protect.


“It’s a pretty magical place,” said Randy Serraglio, Southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The analogy is an oasis, really. That’s why the water withdrawals are so damaging.”


The refuge itself is supposed to be protected under environmental laws, but the government has waived those in the name of border security.


Other than the Fish and Wildlife Service employees who manage the refuge, and the environmental groups that oppose construction, the refuge and other ecological treasures have no protections when it comes to border wall construction.


Dozens of records obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, which has sued to stop border wall construction, show months of warning from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees in charge of the refuge that went largely ignored.


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  • 5 months later...

What is happening with US President Donald Trump's border wall, and what does president-elect Joe Biden intend to do?


A centrepiece of US President Donald Trump's hardline immigration policy was the construction of a "big, beautiful wall" on the US-Mexico border — and the promise that Mexico would pay for it.


Mr Trump will this week leave office with the wall less than half complete according to his initial specifications, as well as no apparent funding contribution from Mexico.


So how much of the wall has been built and what will be its fate be under Joe Biden's administration?


Mr Trump repeatedly promised in 2015 and 2016 the wall would be 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometres) long.


He argued the wall would combine with mountain terrain and rivers to create an effective barrier across the 1,954 mile (3,145km) US-Mexico border.


During his 2020 State of the Union address, Mr Trump said "substantially more than 500 miles" of the wall would be complete by early 2021.


As of January 8, 2021, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says the Trump administration had completed 453 miles (729km) of wall overall.


However, much of the new wall has simply replaced barriers put in place by previous administrations, with only 80 miles (128km) of barrier built in areas where no structures previously stood, according to CBP.


When Trump leaves office, the wall will be less than half built, judged against his initial promises.


Who ultimately paid for it?


"Mexico is going to pay for the wall," Trump said in an interview with MSNBC in January 2016.


"When during the campaign I would say: 'Mexico's going to pay for it,' obviously I never said this, and I never meant they're going to write out a check," he said in January 2019.


"I said they're going to pay for it. They are. They are paying for it with the incredible deal we made, called the United States, Mexico and Canada — USMCA — deal."


The USMCA free trade agreement contains no specific provision requiring Mexico to fund the wall.


In fact, the US government has wholly footed the bill: about US $15 billion (AUD $19.5 billion) in funding has come from the Department of Homeland Security, as well as from the Defense and Treasury Departments.


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Proclamation on the Termination Of Emergency With Respect To The Southern Border Of The United States And Redirection Of Funds Diverted To Border Wall Construction 





Like every nation, the United States has a right and a duty to secure its borders and protect its people against threats.  But building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution.  It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.  My Administration is committed to ensuring that the United States has a comprehensive and humane immigration system that operates consistently with our Nation’s values.  In furtherance of that commitment, I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border in Proclamation 9844 of February 15, 2019 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States), was unwarranted.  It shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.  I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall.  


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All border wall construction to stop by Wednesday


All border wall construction is scheduled to grind to a halt this week, after a notice from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection notified contractors of the stoppage.


The release indicated that CBP contractors must stop all border wall construction projects by Wednesday, Jan. 27, according to Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar, who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.


While the statement did not indicate whether contractors with the Department of Defense or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would also stop, Cuellar said it is likely they will also halt any projects.


"This morning, as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I received notification that in accordance with President Biden’s executive order, all CBP contractors have now been formally notified by CBP Procurement to pause construction activities on CBP self-executed projects," Rep. Cuellar said in a statement. "While CBP cannot speak on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it is expected that DOD and USACE are undertaking parallel action on CBP-funded border wall projects that they are overseeing."


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