Lawmakers in D.C. continue to haggle over how much, if any, funding will go toward President Donald Trump’s border wall.
Meanwhile, on the ground at the U.S.-Mexico border, the wall is already being built.
“We’ve actually started a big, big portion of the wall today at a very important location, and it’s going to go up pretty quickly over the next nine months,” Trump said at his rally in El Paso, Texas on Feb. 11.
Washington Examiner columnist Eddie Scarry noted on Feb. 12 that he “checked in with agents at the Rio Grande Valley border sector to see if they knew what new ‘wall’ Trump was talking about.”
The agents sent Scarry “information on construction for a new border barrier announced last year. The project funds six miles-worth of concrete and steel barrier of the sort that agents told me in January is immensely successful in deterring illegal border crossings.”
The wall will be supplemented by “detection technology, lighting, video surveillance, and an all-weather patrol road parallel” to the barrier, according to a release sent out by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in November.
The $145 million for the new section of wall was included in CBP’s budget for fiscal year 2018.
While Trump pushes ahead for the wall, a butterfly sanctuary in Texas is trying to stop it.
The National Butterfly Center has filed for a restraining order to keep federal agents and contractors from constructing a portion of wall on its property in the town of Mission in the Rio Grande Valley, the Texas Observer reported.
Congress last March approved more than $600 million for 33 miles of new barriers in the Rio Grande Valley, including through Butterfly Center property.
CBP has said it intends to start building the wall in the area this month.
Laws passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks allow Homeland Security to override federal environmental regulations to build barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Butterfly Center’s motion accuses the Department of Homeland Security of driving trucks and heavy machinery across the center “as if they own it,” replacing the lock on one of the gates and blocking access to “more than two-thirds” of the property.
The filing seeks to prevent any federal employees or federal contractors from “taking any action” on the center’s property “for construction of a border wall, enforcement zone, road or any related installations, or otherwise interfering with the [butterfly center’s] use and enjoyment of its property” pending the outcome of lawsuits filed by the butterfly center and other groups allied against the wall’s construction.
A federal judge has not yet scheduled a hearing on the center’s request.
Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, meanwhile, sent a text to supporters featuring a border wall bumper sticker.
“Team Trump: For a limited time, we’re selling BUILD THE WALL & CRIME
WILL FALL stickers.”
The text asked for a $10 donation for the “OFFICIAL Sticker.”