DHS Keeps Mileage of Newly Built Border Wall a Mystery

Cacti are seen near the metal fence along the border in Sonoyta, Sonora state, northern Mexico, between the Altar desert in Mexico and the Arizona desert in the United States, on March 27, 2017.
File Photo: PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images
JOHN BINDER

The total mileage of new border wall constructed on land that did not previously have a barrier built on it at the United States-Mexico border remains unknown, as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has kept the number a mystery.

For months, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has touted the construction of a “new border wall system” at the southern border, citing that 38 miles as of March 21 have been built along the nearly 2,000-mile long border.

In a statement provided to Breitbart News two months ago, a CBP spokesperson said the 38 miles of newly constructed wall system “provides new capability by replacing ineffective or dilapidated infrastructure, such as Normandy-style barriers designed only to stop vehicles, not people on foot.”

CBP officials also said that the 38 miles of border wall system is part of a 115-mile wall construction project using money from the Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.

DHS, though, has refused for months to reveal the mileage of border wall that has been constructed at the southern border in areas that did not previously have barriers built. Breitbart News has made multiple requests to CBP officials, as well as a high-ranking DHS official, over the last two months and has yet to confirm the total mileage of new border wall on new land.

Every administration since the early 2000s has replaced border barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Trump administration has continued doing. The Obama administration, for example, constructed an 18-foot border fence that replaced an existing barrier in the Sunderland Park, New Mexico region.

Meanwhile, the majority of the U.S.-Mexico border has remained open as DHS replaces existing fencing rather than expanding border barriers to new land areas that would otherwise have stayed open.

In March, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Breitbart News that no new border wall on new land where there were previously no barriers has been built by the Trump administration. To date, Judd said, Trump’s DHS has only renovated existing border fences and constructed border wall that has replaced existing fencing.

This week, a lawyer for the House of Representatives told an Oakland, California judge that less than two miles — 1.7 miles, exactly — of the border wall has been built at the southern border using the $1.57 billion that Congress allocated to the project last year.

Following the report, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that the figure was incorrect and that more than 100 miles of border wall have been built, though that number would contradict totals from CBP.

“There is over 100 miles, I think, it is close to 115 miles have been finished,” Sanders told Fox News of wall construction.

At the same time, rumors have circulated that U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost is expected to leave the agency after only serving officially in the lead position for about a year.

DHS did not respond with the total mileage of new border wall on new land in time for this publication.

A senior administration official called the claims of only 1.7 miles of border wall being built “completely false” in a statement to Breitbart News.

“The 1.7 miles are part of a 14-miles project specific to the San Diego Sector at a cost of $131 million (FY18 dollars),” the official wrote in a statement. “There is currently over 120 miles of new or replacement wall being constructed and to say only a few miles is completely false and misleading. Our country is facing a growing emergency at the southern border and President Trump is taking every action to address the crisis. We hope Congress can join us and stop playing partisan politics.”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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