President Donald Trump has reportedly offered to grant pardons to people who engage in criminal activity in order to get his border wall built more quickly.
While Trump has promised the border wall since the start of his campaign, the government has made slow progress in constructing it. Only about 60 out of 500 miles of wall that Trump had hoped to have built by the 2020 election have been completed so far.
When officials brought up the difficulty in obtaining the land to build portions of the wall, the president reportedly instructed them to "take the land."
"Don't worry, I'll pardon you," Trump said, according to the Washington Post. This reporting from the Post was based on the testimony of "officials who attended the meetings" at the White House. Another unnamed White House official told the Washington Post that Trump did not intend for this statement to be taken seriously.
The White House did not deny that the president had said this. Instead, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley volunteered to the Washington Post that "Donald Trump promised to secure our border with sane, rational immigration policies to make American communities safer, and that's happening everywhere the wall is being built."
He also said that reports of disapproval of the president from inside the administration were "just more fabrications by people who hate the fact the status quo, that has crippled this country for decades, is finally changing as President Trump is moving quicker than anyone in history to build the wall, secure the border and enact the very immigration policies the American people voted for."
Who's paying for the wall?
Trump has struggled to get funding for his border wall. After Congress refused to grant him the resources he had demanded in February following the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, Trump announced that he would declare a national emergency to get the funding without help from Congress.
The Department of Homeland Security recently reallocated $271 million from other projects to increase border security, including $155 million from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund. His administration also announced in March that it would take $1 billion from the Pentagon specifically to pay for border fencing. Another $3.6 billion will also reportedly be moved from Department of Defense projects to border barrier construction.