US Customs and Border Protection statistics reveal that the Trump administration has constructed nearly 100 miles (160 kilometers) of Mexico border wall until late December. The work consisted of replacing existing structures. Donald Trump had promised the wall during his 2016 campaign. It was to prevent the entry of unwanted elements like drug smugglers and illegal immigrants from across the border into the United States. Trump had said at the time that he would ensure Mexico bore the cost of the wall. Once he took over the White House as President, he got his people to lay down rigid specifications, finalize the design and erect prototypes.

However, Mexico refused to foot the bill and there was a problem of finance. Trump even went to the extent of enforcing a shutdown to get funds for the Mexico border wall.

Channel News Asia says the Trump administration has now requested the Pentagon to assess the financial implications for building 270 miles (435 kilometers) of the wall on the Mexican border. A senior official of the Defense Department confirmed undertaking evaluation of its viability and working out the cost estimates.

He added that the cost would be borne by the Pentagon and would be to counter drug smuggling. The Trump administration is determined to construct at least 400 miles (644 kilometers) of the wall by November 2020. That will coincide with Trump's bid to get re-elected for another term.

Hurdles for Mexico Border Wall

There are Democratic party members in Congress who do not agree to the diversion of funds earmarked for military spending to boost security on the border. That is what President Donald Trump intends to do. Obviously, the disclosure of the request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could lead to another showdown.

A media report says the Trump administration wants billions of dollars towards the wall. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has indicated that diversion of funds for Mexico border wall construction was in order. This is because it falls in the category of a security issue at the border and the Pentagon was committed to supporting the DHS's mission.

Channel News Asia adds the Pentagon's review of the DHS request would have to cover several aspects.

It is difficult to take a call on when construction might begin, but there is a time limit on the utilization of funds, which is Sep 30 or the end of the fiscal year. There will also be involvement from the military. They have to work out the impact of such diversion on military readiness.

Building the Mexico Border Wall is the objective

According to CNN, Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf described the completion of 100 miles of the wall as "a milestone achievement." The target of the Trump administration is to construct 450 miles by the end of this year. Already there is some work done on old, dilapidated designs. The wall was the key campaign promise of Donald Trump last time and could figure prominently in the current election year.

There was a financial constraint last year, and Trump declared a shutdown for diversion of funds from other projects to build the Mexico Border Wall. Chad Wolf is confident that 450 miles of the promised wall will either be completed or under construction by the end of 2020.

Trump’s Mexico Border Wall to fulfill his promise

So far, 100 miles of the wall have come up. In some areas, it was new construction and in other areas, it was the replacement of run-down barriers with an enhanced system. The White House insists that the construction should be labeled as the new wall. Since taking over the reins, President Donald Trump has faced a number of legal challenges over his border wall. There are also issues related to the availability of necessary land owned by private parties in California, New Mexico, and Texas.

Hence, with election-year round, the corner, his key campaign promise of 2016 could take on new urgency.

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