Trump administration says ‘walls work.’ Here’s what a full view of the border shows

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security launched a new webpage Wednesday titled “Walls Work.”

The four-page document stresses that, under President Donald Trump, federal officials are committed to “building wall and building wall quickly.” 

It promises that DHS will be able to erect an additional 330 miles of barrier if Congress approves Trump’s $5 billion funding request. 

“Under this president, we are building a wall that is 30-feet high,” DHS asserts. “FACT: Prior to President Trump taking office, we have never built wall that high.”

But the structures now being erected do not meet the definition of a wall used by Trump during his campaign, or by DHS in seeking wall prototypes. 

And the new construction doesn’t add mileage to the border-security system. The projects completed so far — segments of 2.25 miles, 20 miles, 14 miles, 4 miles — build fences that replace older fences. 

In 2017, the USA TODAY NETWORK flew, observed and mapped every mile of the U.S.-Mexico border and its existing fencing, a project that took months. 

More than a year later, the total number of miles with fencing has not changed. Nearly all of the barriers built either replaced old structures or provided an additional layer of security. But DHS now usually refers to the fences as walls.

On Tuesday, the president put out a tweet declaring much of his “great wall” already has been built, and the border “is now secure and will remain that way.”

The conflicting statements about border barriers continue. The full survey of the border, and the accompanying reporting, helps put them in context.

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