- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2020

President Trump’s border wall construction will reach 300 miles at the end of this week, a top Army Corps of Engineers official said on Tuesday as he gave Mr. Trump a tour of the border region in Arizona.

New wall is going up at a rate of 10 miles a week.

Mr. Trump also renewed his 2016 campaign vow to make Mexico pay for the cost, which stands at about $15 billion allocated right now.

“They will pay for it. They are paying for it, it’s 100%,” he said.

He suggested one option would be to charge a “toll” on money being sent across the border. That could be a reference to taxing remittances, the money Mexican migrants send to family back home. In 2019, Mexican migrants sent back $38.6 billion — the vast majority of that from people in the U.S.

The Trump White House has long pondered imposing a surcharge on remittances, but has never followed through.

Mr. Trump seemed to suggest a decision will come soon.

“It doesn’t matter whether they pay for it now or over the next couple months. Mexico will be paying,” he said.

Overall, Mr. Trump, said illegal immigration is down, and credited the wall with helping discourage some of the crossers.

“They look at the wall and they say let’s pass, let’s take a pass,” he said as he looked at a smaller model of the wall.

Officials said they are funded for more than 730 total miles, and while 300 are almost completed, another 300 are under construction. The remaining mileage is still in planning.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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