Yuma, AZ Washington D.C. August 18 1:34 P.M. MST
Hello, everybody. We're here to celebrate a very big achievement. And it's Yuma, and it's hot. (Inaudible) a little hot out there. I'm supposed to speak for 45 minutes. It's about 120 degrees. Do you think Joe Biden could do that? I don't think so. (Laughter.) I have a feeling he couldn't do it.
So we're really, sort of, celebrating a lot of things. The incredible people right over there have done such an incredible job. (Applause.) That's first and foremost.
And I will say this: You're setting records at the border. You've been unbelievable, and I know the wall is helping. You know, in two weeks, we will have hit 300 miles of wall. And this is a small version of it because, actually, the real deal goes up 30 feet. This is much smaller than that. But this is a small version of it. This is what the finish will be.
Those are anti-climb plates at top, so that makes it much more difficult when you get to the top — because you see these guys climbing up with drugs on their back, and when you see that, it's actually — they look at the wall and they say, "Let's pass. Let's take a pass on it." So it's a — it's been a really incredible success.
So, within two weeks, we'll be in 300 — General, I think — in 300 miles.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL SEMONITE:
Sir, we're actually going faster than that. We'd like to think we can get to 300 by the end of this week.
That's fan- — wow.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL SEMONITE:
And we're doing about how many a week? About 10 miles a week?
LIEUTENANT GENERAL SEMONITE:
Over 10 miles a week; over 2 miles a day.
That's fantastic. That's fantastic. So, it's a great — it's a great feeling to have closed up the border. Now people come in if they come in through merit, if they come in legally — but they don't come in like they used to. And human trafficking is — I think we're down 96 percent or something. It's been incredible.
Mark, why don't you say a few words, please.
ACTING COMMISSIONER MORGAN:
Yes, sir. So, thank you. So first of all, what you see behind me has saved American lives. Every single bit of concrete and steel that goes into the ground, the operational capacity of the men and women you're seeing right here goes exponentially higher to stop dangerous things and people from coming into this country.
Drugs — drugs alone — what this wall does is it helps us shape the behavior of the cartels. It puts us in an offensive position, just like the President said. Because of that, this year — year, to date — we've seized over a million pounds of drugs. Think about that: this year, to date, a million pounds of drugs. And this wall is helping shape the behavior so that we can get better at doing that.
We talked about criminals. We apprehend thousands of criminals every single year. Think about that. You know, a lot of these individuals are violent criminals. Because of this wall, we're able to apprehend and stop these criminals from coming into this country to repeat their offenses. So we have fewer victims of United States citizens because of the wall, because of what this President has provided us.
Let's talk about gangs. Every single year, we stop hundreds and hundreds of gangs from pouring into this country — like MS-13, whose motto is "Rape, Kill, and Control." That's their motto: "Rape, Kill, and Control." Just recently — it wasn't that long ago — they used machetes to hack up their victims, and they actually leave them decapitated. That's what we're talking about when we're talking about what this tool provides us.
And then, of course, illegal immigration: Even during the height of a global pandemic, illegal immigration continues. And they allow themselves to be put in stash houses that are unsanitary, unsafe. They're put in tractor trailers for days. I mean, there's COVID — that's like a COVID petri dish. But yet, they're coming across. But because of the tools that we have, like this wall, we're able to stop the illegal entry of individuals that have COVID to protect our — a citizen of this country.
And, Mr. President, I can say: I've been in law enforcement for over 30 years — my entire adult life — and I want to personally thank you. You absolutely understand the threats that we face along our borders. You understand that border security is national security. And what today represents is a tremendous achievement that shows our commitment and the President's commitment to do what he said he was going to do from the beginning, and that's everything that we can to give these men and women the tools that they need to safeguard the health, safety, and security of the American people.
So, on behalf of the Customs and Border Protection, Mr. President, I want to say thank you for your continued commitment. (Applause.)
Thank you very much. Not a bad job. That was a not a bad job, Mark. I'm impressed. Well, you've been my friend, and you've been with us from very early on, and we appreciate it. We've made a lot of progress.
You know, you don't hear about the wall anymore because we won. When you win — if you're us — you never hear about it again. And we have page after page of achievement that you never hear of anymore. And people say, "Oh, let's not talk about Space Force. Let's not talk about all of the things we've done."
But the wall is something that probably was the most visible of all. And it's working so incredibly — 280 miles, a little more than that. And again, that'll be a great — whether it's next week or the week after — knowing the general, we'll do it next week — but we'll be at that 300-mile mark. And the difference is like day and night. Number one, you can use a lot less people, so you can be doing other things, which is great. Because once you have the wall, nobody gets through it.
Additionally, the wall is equipped with various things. It's — it's set up for cameras and all sorts of elements. You control a lot of things, even from the air, within the wall.
Interestingly, if you look, this is steel — the exterior — but inside the steel is hardened concrete. Very, very strong, heavy-strength concrete. And inside the concrete is rebar. So you have steel. You have concrete. You have rebar. You have all different materials. So it's very, very hard to get through. Very, very hard. And it made it, actually, much stronger than it would be, even if it was steel. So, inside, concrete. Inside that, what's called "grade-A hardened rebar," which is very hard to saw. You cannot do it very easily. But I think it's going to be fantastic.
And again, the big thing is that plate; that's a big deal. We had people, they couldn't — they couldn't get over that. That was the thing that stopped them. They could get up to the plate, but once they got there, there was nothing to grab. So it's called "anti-climb." It's been — it's been great.
General, would you like to say something?
LIEUTENANT GENERAL SEMONITE:
I would, sir. And, you know, I think the amazing thing about this is it's part of a great team here. We enjoy working for DHS. Commissioner Morgan and his people and the agents standing next to here are the real heroes. They're the ones we work with every single day. And the Corps of Engineers — again, we stay in concrete and steel, but our employees out in the Army Corps of Engineers are very, very dedicated to be able to make sure we get this done.
We talked about the 300-mile mark, but what you might not know is that this administration has basically funded us for 733 miles. Three hundred are going in — or, I mean, are already in right now, basically. There's another 300 that are being built right now in every — all along places across these four states. Forty-nine different projects are all going in the ground. And then the last 133 are in design and acquisition. We're writing the contracts; we're designing it. But that's 733 miles that are paid for to be able to continue to execute.
Last two things I would say, Mr. President, is that we want to continue to go out of our way to try to make sure we're taking care of the environment and mitigate any damages out there. We're also worried about the Native American tribes. We're worried about land owners. We want to do this the best way we can to achieve this objective. And we're just very, very proud and honored to be a part of this overall great team.
Great job. Fantastic job.
As you know, we have some natural walls, so to speak. We have mountain areas. We have very, very rough areas that are virtually impossible to get by. We have the river itself. We have a river that's a rough river, a dangerous river. And you don't need walls at certain locations, but we have covered it. And this is something that's very special, very important.
And I looked at the platform. I didn't see it, but I know they used to talk about it — that they would take down the wall if they got in. They would take it down. And one of the incredible things in terms, Mark, of timing, is that because of the coronavirus, or whatever you want to call it — the "China plague." Call it whatever you want. "China plague" is more accurate. But because of what happened with this, Mexico is heavily infected, and it's stopping people from coming across.
We put up 18 miles in San Diego, as an example, right opposite Tijuana. And Tijuana is probably the worst place in South America, in terms of the China virus. It's — I think it is the worst place. And San Diego is not suffering at all because of it. So it's — I mean, it's an incredible thing that happened.
So California is actually very happy that we built the wall. They don't say it publicly because they can't; it's not good, politically, for them, although I actually think it probably is good, politically, for them.
So it's been an incredible success. Chad, do you want to say a couple of words, please?
Read the full transcript HERE
You can visit a collection of all White House posts by clicking here.