Did President Trump Keep His First-Term Promises? Let’s Look at 5 of Them

In fact, Mexico is not paying for it.

The barriers that have been constructed along the border so far have been paid for by American taxpayers.

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The fact that Mr. Trump brings up the wall as part of his “Promises Made, Promises Kept” campaign spiel does not seem to bother his most loyal supporters, who view it as something more like the motto of a sports team they love. “I see the ‘building the wall’ as symbolic,” said Amad Zarak, 20, a student in Gainesville, Fla. “It’s a physical manifestation of the policy of restricting immigration.” Over all, “he’s trying to keep his promises.”

Alan Sanchez, 57, a defense contractor from Maricopa, Ariz., conceded that the president did not get it done. But he said he did what he could.

“He could have done better,” Mr. Sanchez said. “It would have taken congressional support. He did what he could. I’m happy with what he did only because he had to fight tooth and nail and go to the Supreme Court to get a couple miles built.”

The Department of Homeland Security has argued that the new barriers have reduced the personnel needed to staff certain sectors, and reduced unauthorized immigration. In Mr. Trump’s first year in office, illegal border crossings did decline to the lowest point since the 1970s, but then increased to the highest point in a decade in the 2019 fiscal year before decreasing again this year during the pandemic.

With three Supreme Court Justices and 25 percent of the federal judiciary now made up of Trump appointees, according to data from Russell Wheeler, a judiciary expert at the Brookings Institution, the president has been more successful on this campaign promise than perhaps any other.

His campaign boasts that he has flipped the balance of three federal appeals courts and shifted nine appeals courts to the right. His nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the weeks before the election could reshape abortion rights, immigration law and the government’s regulatory power. Confirming a Supreme Court justice so close to an election was unprecedented, and Democrats framed it as an illegitimate power grab by Republicans.

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