DHS chief: Replacing current wall would count as new wall for Trump
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said on Wednesday that the administration considers replacements and updates to the border wall as qualifying as “new” segments of border wall.
“To us, it’s all new wall. If there was a wall before that needs to be replaced, it’s being replaced by a new wall,” Nielsen said on Wednesday during a White House press briefing. “This is the Trump border wall.”
Her comments come after President Trump received $1.6 billion for border security in the recently passed federal budget, though the funding came with a number of restrictions.
Trump recently touted “the start” of his long-proposed border wall in a tweet that featured photos of a border update project in Calexico, Calif., that had been prioritized since 2009.
Nielsen’s remarks were similar to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s comment on Friday that replacement fencing was part of the Trump administration’s border wall system.
Trump has in recent days pushed hard for funding for his border wall after receiving heavy criticism from his base for not pushing for more wall funding in the budget negotiations.
On Tuesday, Trump said he would send military troops to patrol the southern border until his wall is built.
Nielsen laid out the White House’s plan on Wednesday to send National Guard troops to the southern border.
Although it is still unclear how many troops will be deployed and for how long, Nielsen said that National Guard troops would not actively detain or handle migrants crossing the border.
“It will be strong. It will be as many as needed to fill the gaps we have today,” Nielsen said when asked about troop numbers. “We do hope the deployment will begin immediately.”