The Trump administration is upping efforts to finish as much of the president's Mexico border wall as possible before the projected change of guard in January, when Joe Biden is expected to take office, the New York Times (NYT) reported on Monday.
The NYT wrote that construction of the wall section, which stretches about 400 miles as of November 2020, is being rapidly increased in the months leading up to the 2021 inauguration.
US blasting teams are reportedly quickly dynamiting the remote Peloncillo Mountains in harsh terrain, the report alleges.
“Wildlife corridors, the archaeology and history, that’s all being blasted to oblivion or destroyed already", said Bill McDonald, 68, a cattleman and former Republican who voted for Biden in November, The Times reported. “Tragedy is the word I use to describe it".
The Guadalupe Canyon, home to rare bird species, will also become subject to similar chaotic work this month, as crews are discharging explosives into the sides of cliffs on a daily basis.
Critics of the policy warn that the canyon is so remote that migrant crossings - which the wall is intended to prevent - are already incredibly infrequent in the area.
“This isn’t just heartbreaking but totally pointless”, said Diana Hadley, a historian whose family ranch is partly located in Guadalupe Canyon.
Trump supporters claim that the wall is protection to communities and boosts security, which frees up border protection services to target illegal crossings in other areas.
“We will see the benefits greatly once this wall system is in place without a doubt”, claimed Brian Hastings, a Customs and Border Protection chief for the Rio Grande Valley sector, talking to the NYT.
“It allows us to be able to respond quicker".
The mayor of Douglas, Texas, Donald Huish, asserted that local authorities had met the "saturation point of finding illegal aliens in our back alleys" but now the "situation has changed".
Around 25 of the structure's 400 miles previously had no barrier, prior to Trump's election to the White House. The rest replaced smaller, run-down sections of the fence.
“The wall is a common-sense thing that improves our security and keeps my cows from wandering into Mexico”, said Timmothy Klump, 31, a generational Arizona borderlands rancher, to The NYT. “The ranchers opposed to the wall are in the minority", he suggested.
The presumptive US presidential election winner, Joe Biden, claims that his incoming administration has no intention of tearing down what has already been built, but clarified that construction will not continue and added that Trump's use of Pentagon funds will no longer support the expensive project.
In a conversation with NYT, advisers from the Biden transition team rejected claims that the new administration would seek to dismantle the existing structure.
The projected incoming administration announced their intention to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and reverse a Trump ban imposed on people traveling to the United States from 13 countries.
Stopping the manufacture of the wall could, according to some, potentially lead to widespread logistical and financial challenges for the new government as construction contracts will have to be terminated and to ensure that terrain where work is currently not complete is safe.
ProPublica reported that one November 2019 contract involving the building of 33 miles of Trump's replacement barrier in Arizona, which currently costs $420 million, could see the government lose almost $15 million if it were to be scrapped.