Nov 9, 2019 - Politics & Policy

First new section of Trump's border wall goes up in Rio Grande Valley

People work on the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Texas
Construction on southern border wall. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nearly three years after President Trump took office, the first section of his promised southern border wall has been installed about a mile north of the Rio Grande, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The government is scrambling to complete 500 miles of wall by the end of next year, per the Times. However, several roadblocks have cropped up along the way, with House Democrats trying to block funding and private landowners fighting the government in court.

The state of play: Construction started in Donna, Tex. in late October — months behind schedule — in part to ease pressure on border agents near the Rio Grande Valley, the busiest border zone, writes the Times.

  • The two steel squares in place where nothing previously stood are only a small portion of Trump's wall, and remain incomplete. The southwestern border stretches some 1,900 miles.
  • To date, the Trump administration has largely focused on improving and replacing existing barriers in California, Arizona and New Mexico, per the Times.
  • Construction at sites in Hidalgo County, Tex. will cost $167 million, and the contract has been awarded to a Texas company, notes the Times.

The bottom line: In total, about 76 miles of replacement wall have been completed along the border, per federal officials, leaving more than 400 miles to be built in roughly 60 weeks to meet the 2020 deadline.

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