AP NEWS

Stephen Miller: ‘Few hundred miles’ of border barriers to be built by fall 2020

February 17, 2019

White House adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday said the roughly $8.1 billion in anticipated money for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border will allow for the construction of “hundreds” of miles of barriers by the fall of 2020.

“You’re looking at hundreds of miles collectively,” Mr. Miller said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Miller said the time frame for construction would be by the end of the next federal appropriations cycle. Fiscal year 2020 ends on Sept. 30, 2020, during the height of the next presidential campaign.

Mr. Miller said there are about 120 miles of barriers already under construction or already obligated.

“You’re going to look at a few hundred miles,” he said.

The White House had been seeking $5.7 billion for wall money in the 2019 homeland security funding bill, which it said would allow for the construction of about 230 miles of wall.

The $333 billion spending package the president signed on Friday provides nearly $1.4 billion in money for border barriers, but it also includes certain restrictions on where that money can be used.

President Trump on Friday also declared a national emergency on the southern border, and the White House identified about $6.5 billion in unspent funds to go toward more border barriers.

Mr. Miller said the president is taking the steps he thinks are necessary to defend the country

“We’ve had thousands of Americans die year after year after year because of threats crossing our southern border,” Mr. Miller said. “We have families and communities that are left unprotected and undefended, we have international narco-terrorist organizations - this is a threat in our country.”

“If the president can’t defend this country then he cannot fulfill his constitutional oath of office,” he said.

About $600 million would come from an asset forfeiture program, and $2.5 billion is from defense department counter-drug funds.

About $3.6 billion is from military construction project money that has yet to be spent.

Democrats have vowed to try to block Mr. Trump’s move, either through congressional action or the courts.

Congress could try to pass a resolution of disapproval to block parts of what Mr. Trump is trying to do, which the president could then veto.

“Obviously, the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration,” Mr. Miller said. “He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed.”

The president’s signature on the spending package also headed off another partial shutdown at the end of last week, after Washington, D.C. had endured a recent 35-day funding lapse the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history.