The Trump administration has put up just 1.7 miles of fencing with the $1.57 billion in funding Congress gave Trump to build his proposed border wall, a lawyer for the House of Representatives told a federal judge this week.
Attorney Douglas Letter revealed the information to U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam, who is overseeing a lawsuit brought by 20 state attorneys general to block Trump from using funds that have not been appropriated by Congress to build his proposed wall, Bloomberg reports.
"The administration recently provided updated information to Congress on the status of its efforts as of April 30, 2019," Letter said in a court filing. "Based on that updated information, it appears that CBP has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing with its fiscal year 2018 funding."
Letter said that the figure was three-fourths of a mile more than the Trump administration reported in February.
A report from Customs and Border Protection earlier this month said that the money was being used to update or build 80 miles of the border wall.
Trump now claims replacement fence counts as new wall:
After repeatedly insisting that he was building the wall and not just repairing and replacing existing fencing that had been up for years, Trump tweeted Wednesday that only “haters” will say that the replacement fence does not count as his new wall.
“Much of the Wall being built at the Southern Border is a complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings. Problem is, the Haters say that is not a new Wall, but rather a renovation. Wrong, and we must build where most needed,” Trump tweeted.
“Also, tremendous work is being done on pure renovation - fixing existing Walls that are in bad condition and ineffective, and bringing them to a very high standard!” he added.
Sarah Sanders tries to fudge the numbers on Fox News:
Conservatives on Fox News and online slammed hit out at the administration for not being able to build much of the wall despite being given ample funding.
“Big story in Drudge today, we’ve only built a mile and a half — a mile and a half of wall but yet, we’ve been allocated to build at least 100 miles of wall,” Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade exclaimed Wednesday. “But for some reason they just can't seem to get it done. Unbelievable.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted that the administration has built a lot more fence than the numbers reported by Customs and Border Protection and cited the replacement fencing that has been put up.
“There is far more than two miles that have been built,” she said in an interview with Fox & Friends, claiming the administration is “still on track to get close to 500 miles built by the end of the year.”
“The Army Corps of Engineers, working with DHS and DOD, are putting a tremendous amount of effort into not just building new wall, taking down some of the barriers that have existed that are completely ineffective, and putting in the very effective border wall they have been putting in the last couple months,” she said. “That’s gonna continue and we're making great progress on that front.”
“I know there have been — there’s over 100 miles, I think it is close to 115 miles have been finished,” Sanders added, not specifying how much of that was replacement fencing. “Again we feel comfortable and confident we're on track to get right around 500 finished by the end of the year."