PHOENIX — The Department of Homeland Security held a ceremony in Texas on Thursday to commemorate 400 miles of new border wall constructed under President Donald Trump’s administration.
QUESTION: Did the Trump administration accomplish building 400 miles of new border wall?
The milestone comes less than a week before the 2020 presidential election and Trump is using it as a reminder to voters that he’s keeping his promises.
In order to verify whether Trump's administration has built 400 miles of new border wall, 12 News used three sources: Homeland Security data, original reporting at the border by NBC News, and The Center for Biological Diversity.
According to CBP figures, 371 miles of the new wall had been completed earlier this month and the government is adding about 5 miles of wall per week.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced Thursday the 400-mile mark had been met.
“Even our most ardent critics recognize a wall is being built,” said Wolf. “A border wall system is effective. A border wall system saves lives.”
In early October, an NBC News crew captured images of bulldozers hauling rocks off a mountain in southern Arizona in preparation for new wall construction where a wall didn’t exist before. This scene is rare, however.
Homeland Security concedes that only about nine miles of the new wall has been constructed on land where barriers did not exist before.
But it’s also important to note that what was there before was old, compromised fencing low barriers meant to stop vehicles but not people.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been tracking the wall’s construction since 2017, tracking the environmental damage wrought by the wall’s construction.
Campaigner Laiken Jordahl says while the group can’t confirm the exact 400-mile figure, they don’t doubt that construction has reached close to that number.
“Hundreds of miles of walls have gone up and ripped through sensitive ecosystems and through indigenous sacred sites,” Jordahl said. “An incredible amount of beautiful places have been destroyed due to this border project.”
ANSWER: 12 News can verify that under Trump, 400 miles of new border wall, or very close to that number, have been constructed.
According to DHS, 338 more miles of the border wall is under construction or in the pre-construction phase.