OTAY MESA, Calif.― At the California border with Tijuana, Mexico, President Donald Trump on Wednesday showed reporters the inner workings of his promised wall, which he said is going up “at breakneck speed.”
Trump said the barrier “still obviously has a ways to go.” But he said over 500 miles should be in place by the end of next year, “depending on certain terrain conditions.”
“I wanted them to show you the interior of parts of the wall and what’s inside of each individual slat,” he said. “And the reason we pour the concrete afterwards is because it’s too heavy to lift when the concrete poured in. So we put it up and we pour the concrete a lot of people don’t see that, but we pour the concrete afterwards. So you have the rebar, you have the steel, and then you have concrete, and it’s hardened concrete, very powerful concrete. What is that, 4,000 pounds? Or 5,000 pounds? That’s a very strong that’s a very powerful concrete.”
The president said he suggested U.S. Customs and Border Patrol build “a less expensive version” of the wall, but that he was convinced to go ahead with “the Rolls Royce version.”
“I said ‘fellas how about doing a less expensive version?’ They said ‘well this is the version that works,’ including the poured concrete and the steel with the rebar and everything else. That’s the Rolls Royce version,” Trump said.
Trump said there was still a national emergency with regard to border security. He said U.S. troops could be taken away from the border as the wall was built, and that if Mexico stopped helping stem the flow of immigrants, imposing tariffs on Mexican imports would be considered.
In addition to pushing Mexico to step -up enforcement of illegal immigration, Trump has successfully pushed to increase spending at the border and clamp down on asylum claims. Still, a Syracuse University research group, recently found that active cases in the U.S. immigration court system have surpassed 1 million, en route to an all-time record.
“During the first eleven months of [fiscal year] 2019, court records reveal a total of 384,977 new cases reached the court,” the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse said in its analysis. “If the pace of filings continues through the final month of this fiscal year, [fiscal year] 2019 will also mark a new filing record,” the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse said in its analysis.”
Pluralist contributed to this report.