The section of border fencing that is being hailed as the first phase of President Trump's signature border wall is part of a long-planned upgrade that was designed and approved by the Obama administration, The Hill reports. The run of fencing, which is just over two miles in length along the border between the United States and Mexico, was approved for updating by former President Barack Obama as far back as 2009.
Trump has since taken ownership of its construction as part of his central campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border. In recognition of the accomplishment, a plaque is now displayed on the fence itself.
"This plaque was installed on October 26, 2018, to commemorate the completion of the first section of President Trump's border wall," it reads. In addition, the plaque includes the presidential seal, Trump's name, plus the names of a number of government officials associated with the project.
Democrats have continually pushed back on the concept of the wall, with the party's official Twitter account recently spelling out their position in no uncertain terms.
"We really have to say this again?" the tweet reads. "The. American. People. Don't. Want. Trump's Wall."
Funding for Trump's proposed wall has been a reliable source or political drama for the president, with a government shutdown and an emergency declaration both taking place as part of the ongoing negotiation for funding for its construction. The emergency declaration, in which Trump claimed the situation at the border presented a threat to national security, is the latest battle in his efforts to pay for the wall.Opponents of Trump's plan to use funds obtained through the emergency declaration will likely have an uphill battle, however, as Reuters has reported. Analysts point out that regardless of how challenges to the emergency declaration play out across the judicial system, Trump has, at the end of that road, an advantage that is potentially impossible for opponents to overcome: the Supreme Court.
The political makeup of the court has shifted substantially over the years, in no small part due to two fiercely conservative picks nominated by Trump. Recent appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh could very well join other conservative members of the court in defending the validity of the emergency declaration, which is the first declaration since 2001 to include military action. John Roberts, the chief justice who has generally been found to be the divided court's swing vote, might ultimately break the tie.