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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

Amanda Gorman steals the show on Inauguration Day

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Poet Amanda Gorman by far generated the most average interactions on social media on Inauguration Day, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.