Nov 9, 2019

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

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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House panel seeks investigation into $400 million border wall contract

Security forces near the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico on Sept. 18, 2019. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images

The House Homeland Security Committee requested on Wednesday that the Defense Department inspector general investigate a $400 million contract recently awarded to Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. for constructing a portion of President Trump's border wall.

The big picture: Fisher was not on the Army Corps of Engineers' original list of qualified bidders to build 31 miles of border wall near Yuma, Arizona, per the Washington Post. But Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) cites another report from the Post that alleges Trump has repeatedly urged the Army Corp. to award the contract to Fisher, which is owned by a GOP donor who has made several appearances on Fox News to promote his company.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Apprehensions dwindle at southern border as fewer migrant families seek asylum

Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Mark Morgan. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Officials apprehended more than 42,000 people at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, Customs and Border Patrol commissioner Mark Morgan said on Thursday, per CNN.

Why it matters: The number of apprehensions has continued to drop since its peak of 133,000 earlier this year. Morgan pointed to a 14% dip since September, CNN notes.

Go deeperArrowNov 15, 2019