There’s a new report out by the DC Examiner that reveals that the Trump administration hasn’t yet built any new wall, where there is no wall, along the southern border. Everything built so far has all been new replacement wall for the existing border fence:
The Trump administration has not installed a single mile of new wall in a previously fenceless part of the U.S.-Mexico border in the 30 months since President Trump assumed office, despite his campaign promise to construct a “big beautiful wall.”
In a statement last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency overseeing border barrier construction, confirmed that all the fencing completed since Trump took office is “in place of dilapidated designs” because the existing fence was in need of replacement.
The agency said that it had built 51 miles of steel bollard fence with funding that was set aside during fiscal 2017 and 2018. But while the funding was meant both to replace outdated walls and to place barriers where there previously had been none, the government has only completed the replacement projects. The projects to secure areas with no fence are still in the works.
I don’t think anyone will argue with upgrading and replacing the old dilapidated wall on the border. But I thought actual new construction in fenceless areas was supposed to begin months ago?
Congress must change the Immigration Laws now, Dems won’t act. Wall is being built – 400 miles by end of next year. Mexico must stop the march to Border! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2019
Trump promised on May 1st that we’d have 400 miles of border wall built by the end of next year, but the Examiner reports that so far they are only averaging “1.7 miles of barrier per month”. If they continue at this rate we’ll be lucky to get 35-40 miles of border wall by the end of next year.
The Trump administration is blaming the lack of progress on the approval process for unfenced areas:
A senior administration official told the Washington Examiner that Border Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers moved faster on replacement projects than the new ones because the approval process for environmental and zoning permits was far less extensive than areas of the border with no barrier.
A second senior official defended the progress the administration’s progress and blamed Democrats in Congress for blocking funding for additional projects the White House has tried to move on.
“The wall projects are moving along as quickly as practicably possible given the unprecedented obstruction from Democrat lawmakers to protect and prolong open borders,” the official wrote in a statement. “These same obstructionists, including many who once supported border barriers, are the same people who would abolish ICE and DHS, let criminals run free across our borders, and turned a blind eye to the scourge human trafficking and child sex slavery enabled by their policies.”
It’s nearly August now and so far no new wall has been built this year. If they are going to meet Trump’s promise of 400 miles by the end of next year, they are seriously going to have to pick up the pace. But I wouldn’t hold your breath if I were you.