EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s border agency admits he has built ZERO new walls despite claiming otherwise for months — as the president prepares to veto lawmakers’ attempt to kill his emergency declaration and keep his signature campaign promise alive
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection told DailyMail.com that no new border wall has been erected
- President Trump has boasted that he has built new walls, a claim that appears untrue given CBP’s statement on the record
- All the construction along the border to date has consisted of replacement and ‘secondary’ fencing
- DailyMail.com asked CBP to identify where border walls exist in places where nobarriers existed on Inauguration Day 2017
- A spokesman conceded that ‘[t]he first new wall project, where no barrier currently exists, is anticipated to start in April’
The United States government has built no new border walls during the Trump administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed exclusively to DailyMail.com on Thursday.
Border barriers erected between the U.S. and Mexico since Inauguration Day 2017 have consisted of supplements to existing walls and replacements for outmoded or decreipt sections.
‘The first new wall project, where no barrier currently exists, is anticipated to start in April,’ CBP spokesman Roger Maier said in an email. He identified Hidalgo County as the construction project’s location, a border zone along a meandering 50-mile stretch of the Rio Grande.
CBP said last year that it was ‘designing and constructing approximately 25 miles of levee wall system’ in that county, whose anchor is the the border city of McAllen.
President Donald Trump visited McAllen on January 11, boasting of wall renovations that he framed as ‘new’ construction. ‘I will say, we’ve done a lot of renovation. And we have a lot of new wall going up where we took down wall because it was in such bad shape, and we put new wall up,’ he said.
Trump has been less ambiguous on other occasions. He wrote on Twitter that ‘newly built walls’ were stopping caravans of Central American migrants from entering the U.S., and that ‘[w]e have already built large new sections’ in addition to ongoing renovations.
That appears to be untrue.
The documented border wall construction the Trump administration has engaged in so far has consisted of replacing some existing barriers and reinforcing others with secondary fencing; U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Thursday that the ‘first’ new section won’t go up until April
President Donald Trump has claimed that his administration has erected ‘new’ sections of border wall separating the U.S. and Mexico, a claim that his own border agency disagrees with
Trump’s base continues to go wild for his wall as his re-election campaign frames the issue in terms of ‘finishing’ the project, not getting it off the ground
Maier said that ‘CBP has constructed approximately 38 of 40 miles of wall in place of outdated designs,’ using funds Congress appropriatedfor fiscal 2017.
Those replacements are up in San Diego and El Centro, California; Santa Teresa, New Mexico; and El Paso, Texas.
‘This barrier replaced dilapidated infrastructure, half of which was Normandy-style vehicle barrier,’ he said.
‘Construction has also started on the San Diego Secondary replacement, the first project funded in [fiscal] 2018. The first new wall project, where no barrier currently exists, is anticipated to start in April in Hidalgo County of the Rio Grande Valley Sector.’
Trump has rediirected billions of dollars to his wall project through a national emergency declaration, claiming at the same time that the project is well underway.
Both houses of Congress voted this week to rescind that declaration with a resolution that the president has said he will veto, perhaps as soon as Friday.
Some of Trump’s claims about his construction described sections of border wall where none existed before.
In January he tweeted a complaint that ‘[t]he Fake News Media keeps saying we haven’t built any NEW WALL.’
He provided a photograph of a section of border wall, saying: ‘Below is a section just completed on the Border. Anti-climbing feature included. Very high, strong and beautiful! Also, many miles already renovated and in service!’
Trump didn’t say where the photo was taken, but a date-stamp indicated it was created in October.
Trump drew applause and chants of ‘Build the wall!’ in 2015 and 2016 as he campaigned for the White House, promising to physically separate the U.S. from its southern neighbor with an impenetrable barrier and force Mexico to pay the bill.
President Trump tweeted on December 11 that ‘newly built Walls’ were keeping migrant caravans out, and said his admininstration has ‘already built large new sections’ along with rongoing renovations
Customs and Border Protection said about half of the ‘dilapidated’ border barriers it has replaced with walls consisted of Normandy-style vehicle barriers like these, shown in April 2018 between Santa Teresa, New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico
The first ‘new’ section of border wall, where none at all existed before Trump became president, will start going up nexgt month in Hidalgo County, Texas (pictured)
That financial pledge morphed into a promise to recoup the cost of a wall by re-engineering America’s trade relationship with Mexico in a way that would benefit taxpayers.
As president he first began to claim limited success with his ambitious project in the fall of 2017, tweeting that construction to date consisted of ‘new renovation of old and existing fences and walls.’
More recently his campaign-style rallies as president have featured supporters waving ‘Finish the wall!’ signs – not ‘Build the wall!’ – along with placards that read, ‘Promises made, promises kept.’
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter once praised Trump’s immigration policies but blasted him Monday night as a ‘shallow, narcissistic, lying conman,’ and dared him on Tuesday to prove he had built any new sections of border wall since becoming president
Trump posted a pair of tweets criticizing Ann Coulter on Saturday that also touted border wall progress, saying sections were being ‘built and renovated’
Trump claimed Saturday on Twitter that ‘[m]ajor sections of Wall are being built.’ He tweeted a day earlier that his long-promised border wall ‘is being built and is well under construction.’
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
CBP’s disclosure came as a result of a request for information on Tuesday after conservative pundit Ann Coulter challenged the president to identify exactly where his administration had erected new border barriers.
‘The President’s tweet says he’s already building the Wall. Could he give me the precise latitude and longitude of its location?’ she asked. ‘Also, how many miles long is it?’
‘I want to throw a party there and need the exact coordinates,’ she told DailyMail.com.
The president has boasted construction projects like the one in this photograph that bears an October 2018 date stamp, but the White House has never said where ‘new’ border barriers had been installed; it likely was a replacement for existing barriers, not a wall in a previously unprotected location
Trump claimed last Friday that ‘[t]he Wall is being built and is well under construction’; Coulter trolled him on Tuesday, asking for information about exactly where that’s happening
Trump’s public statements about his project this year have boasted of new wall construction – not renovation of older structures. ‘The Wall is being built and will be a great achievement,’ he tweeted February 12.
A week later his Twitter feed published a time-lapse video appearing to show a section of steel-slatted bollard wall being erected ‘in New Mexico.’ The tweet said it was ‘[c]ompleted on January 30, 2019 – 47 days ahead of schedule! Many miles more now under construction!’
The footage bore the logo of the Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency that serves as general contractor for large federal public-works projects.
An Army Corps spokesman told a military blog the following day that the video was shot on Sep. 18, 2018. It consisted of ‘a replacement project,’ pre-approved repair work, and not a new wall.
The New York Times reported in January that ‘no new miles of barriers had been built’ during the Trump administration, although [s]ome existing barriers have been replaced.’
CBP’s statement on Thursday marks the first time the Trump administration has confirmed this is true.
The president tweeted this on February 20, including video (below) of what he claimed was three-week-old construction of a new section of wall in New Mexico; it turned out to be September 2018 repair work to replace walls that had been up for years
The agency’s website indicates that about 654 miles of physical barriers block portions of the 1.954-mile southern U.S. border.
That includes 280 miles of vehicle fencing, including ‘Normandy-style’ barriers that can stop a car but not a person on foot. Pedestrian fencing, designed to prevent people from climbing onto American soil, covers another 374 miles.
Trump insisted on Saturday that he’s still serious about physically separating the U.S. and Mexico, and claimed in a tweet that ‘[m]ajor sections of Wall are being built and renovated, with MUCH MORE to follow shortly.’
‘Tens of thousands of illegals are being apprehended (captured) at the Border and NOT allowed into our Country,’ he wrote.
‘With another President, millions would be pouring in. I am stopping an invasion as the Wall gets built. #MAGA.’
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