President Donald Trump claimed that a portion of his proposed border wall has been officially constructed, this section in New Mexico, introducing a new hashtag in the process.
“We have just built this powerful Wall in New Mexico. Completed on January 30, 2019 – 47 days ahead of schedule! Many miles more now under construction! #FinishTheWall,” the president wrote beneath a time-lapse video of a construction crew mounting a steel slatted barrier into the earth.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
He previously unveiled the phrase as a slogan at a rally in El Paso, Texas. It’s likely he’s hoping the hashtag catches similar momentum as #BuildTheWall did over the course of his campaign and and throughout his presidency.
The problem: No new sections of the border wall the president insists is so necessary for border security have been allotted. What construction that has happened has served to replace portions of other, existing barriers already in place and approved by Congress last year.
In October 2018, construction workers “put up the final panel of a new border barrier” in Calexico, California, according to The Los Angeles Times, which points out:
The estimated $18-million project replaced just over two miles of a 1990s barrier made of steel Vietnam War-era military aircraft landing mats with 30-foot bollards — poles placed close together to restrict entry but allow people on either side to see through. …
Planning for the barrier replacement project began in 2009, but funding and construction came under the Trump administration. The only characteristic the new structure shares with Trump’s border wall prototypes is its height. At 30 feet, it towers over older fencing in the El Centro sector, which at the highest rises to about 20 feet.
A construction crew did complete a section of fencing in New Mexico––but that was in August 2018, per CBS DFW, for a project, valued at $73 million, that had begun four months prior.
Congress has never provided the funding for a border wall. The president (and his video) were swiftly called out.
congratulations on not screwing up on the repair job on an existing barrier that was planned and budgeted during the Obama administration. but I hear that taking credit for the work of other people is kind of your thing, so carry on there, Generalissimo Bone Spurs, you go!
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) February 20, 2019
He hasn’t started building the wall.
This is a repair job to existing fence that Obama approved when he was in office.
— AJ (@SnowSakura0813) February 20, 2019
Donnie…..not an inch of new wall has been built. These are just reinforcements approved long time ago. #Trumplies
— AP (@ashiquep) February 20, 2019
Only your dim-witted cult members are buying this ridiculous garbage, Donnie. Anyone with half a brain and the ability to use Google knows this is nothing more than a renovation of an existing wall.
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) February 20, 2019
The president’s claim is misleading because last week he declared a national emergency to access billions of dollars to construct a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border after Congress denied his requests for funding. The declaration has ignited a dispute about separation of powers, and the president’s reasoning is likely to face legal challenges.