Acting CBP Chief: We’ve Built 78 Miles of Replacement Border Wall, Now Breaking Ground for New Wall

By CNSNews.com Staff | November 18, 2019 | 11:40am EST
Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan (Screen Capture)
Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) - Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said at a White House press briefing on Thursday that the administration has so far built 78 miles of new border wall where there were already existing but insufficient structures and has just now started breaking ground in the Rio Grande Valley to build new border wall in areas where there previously were no border barriers.

“So, right now, the 78 miles that have been built have been built where there was an existing form of barrier,” said Morgan. “We just started breaking ground in RGV [Rio Grande Valley], where we're building miles of new wall where there has been no structure there at all.”

Morgan provided this answer after being pressed by a reporter to distinguish between new border wall that was being built where there already were existing structures and wall that was being built where there had not been existing structures.

“So, 78 miles of new wall has been built,” Morgan said initially.

“So, much of that, obviously, is replacing wall that formerly existed that the president said was insufficient,” a reporter followed up. “How many miles of wall now exist where there was no wall whatsoever?”

“So, again, my response to that is: Every mile of wall that's being built is a new mile of wall,” Morgan said.

After another follow-up, Morgan clarified his response as follows: “So, right now, the 78 miles that have been built have been built where there was an existing form of barrier. We just started breaking ground in RGV, where we're building miles of new wall where there has been no structure there at all.”

Here is a transcript of Morgan’s exchange with reporters about the border wall:

Morgan: Yes, sir.

Reporter: The president has promoted the construction of a border wall as one of the key deterrent efforts to try to keep migrants from coming into this country illegally. Just for a status update for us: How many miles of wall has been constructed? Not wall that's replacing old wall, but new wall has been built to this point?

Morgan: So, 78 miles of new wall has been built.

Reporter: So, much of that, obviously, is replacing wall that formerly existed that the president said was insufficient. How many miles of wall now exist where there was no wall whatsoever?

Morgan: So, again, my response to that is: Every mile of wall that's being built is a new mile of wall.

Reporter: No disagreements, sir. But how many--just for a breakdown, how many miles formerly existed that have now been renovated or replaced? And how many miles new, where nothing existed?

Morgan: So, right now, the 78 miles that have been built have been built where there was an existing form of barrier. We just started breaking ground in RGV, where we're building miles of new wall where there has been no structure there at all.

Reporter: So that's just now starting the construction of new wall up against--

Morgan: That's correct. That's correct.

Reporter: Thank you.

Morgan: Yes, ma'am.

Reporter: I believe you said, commissioner, I believe you said last time that land acquisition was one of the things making it challenging. Can you give us an update on your efforts to acquire land and what other challenges you guys are facing?

Morgan: Yeah, land acquisition is going to continue to be a challenge. I'll give you an example: So you could have a mile of land, again, on the southwest border, where it goes back in time, and you could have multiple owners, from 10 to 100 owners that have a piece of that land. Sometimes the records go way back. The records weren't that great. And it's a challenge to go through that process. Now, there's also areas like Laredo, for example, that were actually, you know, working with the city on the design, the structure, and even where it can be placed to make sure that we're taking their considerations into the process as well. So, it's a challenge. But, again, I still think that we're on track to get the land we need for 450 miles. But I will say is, that there are lawsuits out there. So, again, we've seen a lot of the judicial activisms out there, and land acquisition is not going to be immune from that as well. So--

Voice: Last question.





 

 

 

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