Has anyone got any figures for how much of the Great Wall of Trump has actually been constructed at this point, 3rd November 2018, a few days before the mid-term elections?

  • I'm not interested in arguing over whether its a "fence" or a "wall".

  • Don't count the replacement of old barriers with something similar. It only counts as part of Trump's border wall if it is significantly higher or otherwise harder to cross than what was there before.

  • Only completed construction counts. However any timetables for future construction or estimates on progress of current works can be added as supplementary information.

  • Discussions about wider immigration policy are off-topic for this question. I'm asking about the Wall.

The only news story I could find in the last few months was this, dated 27th October, which talks about the "first section", but doesn't say how long that section is.

There is also this question from June (so a bit over 4 months ago) with an answer saying that work on a 14 mile section had been started. Is that the section that is now complete?

3 Answers 3


Somewhere between 2 and 36 miles, replacing existing border walls.

I'd tend to go to official sources for this information, in this case Customs and Border Patrol or GSA. Press releases provided details on project starts:

In the US, the Antideficiency Act bars the government from expending funds without a congressional appropriation. It appears that the limited starts to date have been made based on existing appropriations.

Recent news reports make clear the Calexico segment is considered complete, but raised a concern for future work:

This year's congressional spending bill specifically states that border construction must use the same kind of fencing previous administrations had used.

President Trump, in an October 11 telephone interview with Fox, said that he was "'Not Happy' with border wall progress, and vowed something 'Very Strong' after the mid-term election".

His mention of another project seems supported by the CPB announcement on November 2nd of a contract award Rio Grande Valley (Texas) project described as a reinforced concrete levee wall to the height of the existing levee, 18 feet tall steel bollards installed on top of the concrete wall, and vegetation removal along a 150 foot enforcement zone throughout the approximately six miles of levee wall system. The start date is estimated to be Feb 2019.

  • So, as usual, the NYTimes fake news publication is claiming 0 new walls under Trump. nytimes.com/2019/01/04/us/politics/trump-wall-shutdown.html Thanks for helping me find out the truth. The NYTimes clearly is not interested in publishing the truth
    – enorl76
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 20:17
  • 2
    @enorl76 More thorough reading of both the NYTimes article you linked, and the articles linked in the answer above, will show no discrepency. Both describe a roughly equivalent milage of existing border wall that has been replaced; articles linked above make no statement that the borders are new.
    – Etheur
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 0:32

According to this news story, a two-mile section has been completed in Calexico, California.

It was inaugurated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, who unveiled a plaque with the names of Trump and other officials.

  • According to sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/…, that segment was just a replacement for a previous barrier. So it's not clear that any new wall has been built. Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 0:10
  • 3
    @jeffronicus From the news story in the answer: "The wall celebrated Friday replaces shorter, older fencing installed in the 1990s that was now out of date and operationally inadequate, Nielsen said." So assuming Nielson is telling the truth then this does meet the criteria in the question. Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 12:46
  • Wow! 2 Miles! That is hardly a waste of money and very useful so far. /s
    – hopsinat
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 13:03

This is tricky stuff, partly because so many politicians like to spin words to support or oppose statements such as “promises made, promises kept.” The result is a confused public. But here’s what we know:

• Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 back in March.

• That bill included $1.6 billion for border construction, with some severe restrictions on how it may be spent, and well short of the $25 billion the President is asking for.

• The bill disallows any money for any of the wall prototypes that Trump had put out to bid at the beginning of his presidency.

• But it does allow funding for “secondary fencing” near San Diego, “primary pedestrian levee fencing” in the Rio Grande Valley, “replacement of primary pedestrian fencing” in general, “border barrier planning and design,” and “border security technology.”

• In a press conference last March, Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello said they had funding for about 100 miles of a “border wall system,” and then outlined a number of specific projects that came to about 40 miles of new construction, the rest focusing on repair/improvements of existing barriers.

Bottom line– though we don’t have an inch of new wall that would cover about 1,000 miles (nor a peso from Mexico), it can certainly be argued that construction is underway for an improved version of the 654 miles already covered.

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