By: Nikita Kochhar
October 16 2020
Although 360 miles of the border wall has been constructed so far, only a small portion of it is a new construction.
Although 360 miles of the border wall has been constructed so far, only a small portion of it is a new construction.During the town hall on Oct. 15, US President Donald Trump stated that “we have built over 400 miles of the southern border wall.” The claim is inaccurate and misleading. According to the latest statistics released on the US Customs and Border Protection webpage, approximately 360 miles of a boundary wall on the US border with Mexico has been built so far. At the town hall, Trump also claimed the administration rebuilt borders and that there were "no borders" and "we had nothing." According to a BBC fact check, only 30 miles of a new wall was actually built by August this year. Customs and Border Protection reports show that hundreds of miles of the wall have indeed been built — including primary walls and secondary walls that act as reinforcement systems. But more to the point of Trump’s promise, only a marginal amount of the complete construction happened in places where fencing didn’t already exist. The Trump administration has overseen the construction of just over six miles of the barrier where none previously existed, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers. In comparison, the vast majority of those 400 miles Trump is referencing have replaced existing barriers with towering steel structures. An additional 25 miles of barriers where none previously existed are layered farther from the borderline as a secondary layer, according to USACE. According to the agency, funding had been identified for another 157 miles of the new wall that’s in the pre-construction phase. The wall that has been constructed is substantially more secure than what previously existed, and replacing an old wall is easier for the administration. However, the numbers Trump cites are misleading since they don’t distinguish between new construction and building on the existing one. Trump also changed his figure on Thursday nights townhall, since just last month he claimed 300 miles of the wall were built. Since Trump took office in 2017, the administration has set aside $15 billion for 738 miles of walls and fencing on the border, with the money coming from Homeland Security, the Defense Department, and the Treasury Forfeiture Fund. Building a ‘big, beautiful’ wall was one of Trump’s major electoral promises in 2016. Despite border security experts contending, its construction would not have a significant impact on border security issues. He also falsely claimed that Mexico would pay for the construction of the wall, but an additional $3.6 billion of military construction funds were diverted by the Department of Defense to complete the project in 2019, according to a CNN report. Therefore, Trump’s statement is ambiguous because even if his claim of an estimated 400 miles of boundary wall construction is accurate, most of it is from existing barriers. The border with Mexico is about 2,000 miles long.