On Christmas Day, U.S. President Donald Trump was speaking to reporters at the White House when he set a supposed deadline for the wall along the Mexican border to be completed.
As reported by the Mercury, Trump has decided the wall must be completed by November 3, 2020, the date of the next presidential election.
Whether or not there is any chance of that deadline being met is as yet unknown, given that Congress has been refusing to fund his requested $5 billion piggy bank to pay for the wall. As a result, the government has been in partial shutdown since midnight on Friday, when the Senate failed to reach a deadline to agree to the amount Trump was demanding. While speaking to the media, the president also declined to estimate when the shutdown would end.
"I can't tell when the government's going to be open. I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they'd like to call it," Trump said. "I'll call it whatever they want. But it's all the same thing. It's a barrier from people pouring into our country, from drugs, … human trafficking."Trump first mentioned the wall during his 2016 election campaign, and it became one of his key promises and one that he seems to be sticking by. However, in his original rhetoric, it was Mexico who he was somehow going to strong-arm into paying for the wall. He argued that a wall is the only thing that is going to protect the border from any number of ominous things but mostly aimed his vitriol at South American immigrants.
"A drone isn't going to stop it. High technology is not going to stop it. The only thing that stops it is a wall," he said.
Despite having previously voted for stronger measures at the southern border, Democratic leaders have dismissed Trump's repeated demands for a wall, arguing that it won't get the job done regardless of what the president thinks.
Trump has clarified that although the border spans some 2,000 miles, only about 550 miles of it really requires a wall, and that length would be sufficient for him to consider it complete.
"Some areas are already secured with physical barriers. in other areas the terrain is too difficult for people to cross," he wrote in the book Crippled America. He took a similar tone when speaking to the press, saying, "it's a 2,000-mile border, but much of it has mountains and region you can't get across."
Trump hopes to start construction in January, and some areas of the wall will be as high as 30 feet. He also seemed to forget about the existence of ladders, saying "there may be the case of an Olympic champion who can get over the wall but for the most part you are not able to do it."