At President Trump’s Last Visit to the Border Wall, Here’s What to Know About Its Legacy – By Jasmine Aguilera (TIME) / January 12 2021
President Donald Trump landed in Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday to commemorate the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The visit is Trump’s first public appearance since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol at his behest on Jan. 6, and it will be the President’s last visit to the wall that was a cornerstone of his immigration policy before he leaves office.
Although Trump campaigned on a promise to build a wall along the entire 800 miles of U.S.-Mexico border during his first term in office, he is has not made good on that promise. As of Jan. 4, the federal government has designated $15 billion towards constructing the wall, but only 47 miles of wall have been built where no barrier previously existed, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). (Under the Trump Administration, the government built a total of 452 miles of border wall, but roughly 400 miles were reconstructions of existing barriers, primarily in California, Arizona and New Mexico.)
Trump has, however, succeeded in transforming physical border security—an issue that once earned bipartisan support—into a third rail political issue. President-elect Joe Biden has promised that not “another foot” of wall would be constructed under his Administration, although he has said he would not take steps to remove the barrier constructed under Trump. Biden would be the first president since George H. W. Bush not to build additional barriers at the border.
“It’s not surprising to me that Biden wouldn’t want to remove the wall,” says Jessica Bolter, associate policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, noting how politicized the issue has become in the last five years. “Removing this symbol of Trump’s presidency would invite such a political firestorm and would be seen as such a political move that it might infringe on his ability to move forward with other actions at the border.”