(CNSNews.com) - Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says the United States is on track to build "400, 450 miles" of border wall/border "capability" by the end of the calendar year.
Wolf joined President Donald Trump at a news conference on Wednesday, and he spoke after Trump assured Americans, "very few people are coming into country right now. And as we complete, again, the wall, in addition to the 27,000 (Mexican) soldiers, it's a very -- it's a very tough place to come into."
Trump asked Wolf to "talk about how tight that southern border is right now."
"We have--we continue to build miles of the wall every day," Wolf said:
We're up to over 150, I believe. We're continuing to build new--new miles of wall. And a lot of folks ask about replacement wall or new miles? It's a new capability on the Southwest border that we haven't had before.
And so, whether you talk to the agents, the Border Patrol agents, they like that capability...They like that impedence and denial that it provides them. And it provides the ability for those agents to focus elsewhere on parts of the border that are very difficult to patrol so we can use our resources in a different way. And so, we see a lot of benefits from the border wall system.
And again, that includes not only the physical infrastructure but the cameras, the roads, the lightings, the fiber optic cables, and we're looking forward and we're still well on our track--well on our mark to meet 400, 450 miles by the end of the calendar year.
President Trump touted his border wall as a defense against illegal drugs as well as coronavirus coming into the country:
"The wall is up to about 160 miles already, and any areas where we have that wall--it's for the most part, contiguous, we have fill-ins, but we're up to 161 miles exactly. And any place where you have that wall, other than walking around it on the edges, it's stopping everybody cold," Trump said.
And we are stopping--nobody has seen anything like it. That's how good it works. And the other side (Democrats) knew it worked that well. Everybody, because everybody was for it five years ago. All of the sudden they changed.
It's having a tremendous impact but we are now focused on so many different things because of what has happened, because of this horrible--I say it's a horrible phenomenon that now we have got to focus on drugs and the drugs come in from different methods, and we have the best people at sea anywhere in the world, so we will have a tremendous impact on drugs. But one of the other things we will also have an impact, we think, on the coronavirus.
Trump opened his Wednesday news conference by announcing "a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists, and other malign actors will try to exploit the (coronavirus) situation for their own gain."
"Today the United States is launching enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to protect the American people from the deadly scourge of illegal narcotics. We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives," Trump said.