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Democrats ask Trump to suspend construction of border wall on country’s southern border

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, the first panels of levee border wall are seen at a construction site along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Donna, Texas. Major construction projects moving forward along the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico amid the coronavirus pandemic are raising fears workers could spread the sickness within nearby communities. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, the first panels of levee border wall are seen at a construction site along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Donna, Texas. Major construction projects moving forward along the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico amid the coronavirus pandemic are raising fears workers could spread the sickness within nearby communities. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar on Wednesday asked the Trump administration to suspend construction of the border wall on the country’s southern border and use the money to instead help fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Laredo Democrat was joined by more than 90 lawmakers who urged acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to consider the safety of workers, law enforcement officers and border residents in areas where construction is taking place.

“Money should be invested in healthcare, small businesses, and fighting the spread of COVID-19, not used to build an ineffective and wasteful border wall that does not solve our immigration crisis or protect our homeland,” Cuellar wrote. “Those who are tasked with building this wall are susceptible to not only contracting COVID-19, but also risk spreading the virus to others. Continuation of construction only exacerbates the public health risks for those living at the southern border, detracting from our national efforts against fighting this virus.”

The border wall construction is considered an essential project that has been allowed to continue while most of the country remains paralyzed due to the pandemic. Lawyers for the United States Justice Department are also moving forward with trying to survey or condemn more land for future projects, according to attorneys with the Texas Civil Rights Project. — Julían Aguilar