President Trump is eager to show the progress made in building his long-promised wall on the Mexican border. If in a hurry that Wednesday he sent a tweet showing the construction of steel fences in southern New Mexico with accelerated video to add a sense of efficiency and urgency.
he retweeted Thursday, with the proclamation of caps "The wall is under construction now!"
This is misleading.
The government has built about 700 miles of walls and fences along the border since 2006. The barriers, damaged by migrants attempting to cross them or by the elements, need periodic repairs.
The section of the barrier that Mr. Trump presented this week was not a new construction, but rather a replacement of the existing fence. The money for the steel slatted fence came from a Congressional credit in 2017, and not recently authorized spending in the recent deal that has helped prevent a government shutdown, or money that the president is seeking to withdraw from other federal projects as part of his national emergency declaration last week.
A construction contract for the alternative protection fence was awarded on January 22, 2018 to a Montana company, according to a US Customs and Border Protection Press Release.
"The border wall replacement area will be a 20-mile section of the existing vehicle barrier located just west of the Santa Teresa entrance port and extending to the west. in New Mexico, the statement said. "The existing barrier will be replaced by a terminal-style wall 18 to 30 feet high."
The contract provided for the completion of the project in approximately 390 days. The agency also pointed out the advantages of the transparency characteristics of the terminal wall.
Mr. Trump noted that the project was completed earlier than planned.
The question of whether there will be new walls or a new fence in this area is an open question. New Mexico is among the states that have filed lawsuits against the Trump administration to challenge its emergency declaration.
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