Trump siphoned $3.6 billion intended for military families to build his wall in 2019 and plans to take an additional $7.2 billion in 2020.
At a New Jersey campaign rally on Tuesday night, Donald Trump revived a favorite lie about Mexico paying for his long-promised wall along the U.S. southern border
"Mexico is, in fact — you will soon find out — paying for the wall, OK?" Trump claimed. "The wall is ultimately, and very nicely, being paid for by Mexico."
Trump then claimed the wall would help stop drug trafficking across the border.
"The wall is a vital barrier for blocking deadly drugs from pouring into these [border] communities," he claimed. "What we're doing is stopping drugs at a record number."
Trump's claim about Mexico paying for the wall is a lie.
In truth, Trump ordered $3.6 billion allocated for American military families to be used to construct the border wall. No funds came from Mexico.
Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump promised that, if he were elected, Mexico would pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, that never happened.
At the end of 2018, Trump initiated a partial government shutdown after the Republican-controlled Congress would not provide $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds to build the wall.
In February 2019, he declared a national emergency at the border and ordered the previously allocated military funds repurposed for the wall's construction.
The Trump administration specifically took half a billion dollars intended for school construction projects for service members' children. In New Mexico, Trump took funding allocated to repair or replace a facility where trainees are forced to use duct tape to repair holes in the walls and ceiling. In Arizona, $30 million was taken away from Fort Huachuca that was intended for updates to "unsafe" facilities that currently "jeopardize personnel health, security and safety," according to a 2017 Army report.
In 2020, the Trump administration is reportedly planning to take an additional $7.2 billion allocated to the military and use it to continue wall construction.
There is no evidence that Mexico will contribute to the wall in 2020.
Additionally, Trump's claim that the wall is a "vital barrier" in the fight to stop drugs from "pouring into" border communities is simply untrue. According to Customs and Border Protection numbers, the majority of illicit drugs seized at the border are in fact seized at ports of entry, and not just along the southern border. A wall, then, would do nothing to prevent those attempts to traffic drugs into the United States.
Most of the border wall Trump has erected thus far has been replacements for old border fencing or barriers, not new sections of wall.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.