Building a "big, beautiful wall" in between the US and also Mexico was the signature promise of president Donald Trump's 2016 choice campaign. A concrete barrier, the said, would serve to avoid what he defined as a circulation of illegal immigrants and also drugs end the border.

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But what actually occurred to the wall? exactly how much of it has been built? and how effective has it been?

Any calculate of the miles of new wall built by mr Trump and his management depends an extremely much top top the meaning of the indigenous "new" and also "wall".


Before he took office, there to be 654 miles (just end 1,000km) of barrier along the southerly border - comprised of 354 mile of barricades to stop pedestrians and also 300 mile of anti-vehicle fencing.

Now, according to united state Customs and also Border security (CBP) in that is 6 October standing report, the southerly border has actually 669 mile of "primary barrier" - the very first structure people heading from Mexico to the us will encounter - and 65 miles of "secondary barrier" - which generally runs behind the major structure as a further obstacle.

This means that in areas where no barricades existed before, they have constructed 15 miles of new, primary barrier or "border wall surface system", together it is referred to as by CBP.

​​About a additional 350 mile of barrier has been built, according to CBP, comprised of replacement structures and some new secondary barrier.

More is planned, too, v 378 mile of new and replacement obstacle either under building and construction or in the "pre-construction phase". Less than fifty percent of this will certainly be in places where no barriers currently exist, follow to CBP.



However, mr Trump himself doesn't make a difference between these new stretches the barrier and replacement structures, regarding both as brand-new wall.

This is because, that says, replacements show off "complete demolition and also rebuilding of old and worthless barriers".

When the military rips under an old & badly broken Border wall in crucial location, & replace instead replace it v a brand new 30 ft. High steel & Concrete Wall, Nancy Pelosi says we space not building a Wall. Wrong, and it is going increase fast. Brandon Judd just gave us good marks!

"My administration has done much more than any management in background to for sure our southern border," mr Trump said in June during a visit come the wall.

But what grandfather Trump has actually developed is much from what the promised at the start of his 2016 choice campaign, once he pledged to construct a concrete wall surface along the border's entire 2,000-mile length.

He later clarified the it would certainly cover only half of that. And by the moment of his State the the Union attend to in February this year, his pledge had been diminished to "substantially an ext than 500 miles" by January 2021.

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Mr trumped is still short of the target - even if you encompass all the new, replacement and second barriers put up so far.

Yet exactly how much more will be constructed is uncertain, with autonomous rival presidential candidate Joe Biden speak that, if he would certainly not tear under the barrier Mr Trump has actually built, he would certainly not expand it further.

As well together scaling back his ambitions for the length of the border barrier, grandfather Trump has also changed his view of what constitutes a wall.


But as soon as elected, he started referring to a obstacle made of steel, which would allow border agents come see with it.

Specifically, much of the existing wave of construction is 18-30ft (5.4-9m) reinforced bollard fencing, according to a report by the non-partisan Congressional study Service.

"It poses a formidable barrier, but it is no the high, thick masonry structure that most dictionaries term a 'wall'," the report states.

However, the report adds that while the brand-new barriers may not be made of concrete and in many situations replace present structures, they carry out pose "a brand-new obstacle that transforms the calculus that those attempting to overcome the border between ports the entry".

Having stated that, although grandfather Trump's obstacles are no themselves do of concrete, they have actually been created using a significant amount that it, follow to CBP.

Some 774,000 cubic yards (592,000 cubic metres) the concrete have been provided in construction so far, alongside 539,000 tonnes of steel.

Despite mr Trump's pledge ~ above the project trail in 2016 to obtain Mexico come pay because that the wall, it is the US federal government that has actually spent billions of dollars to expand and also reconstruct it.

Just end $5bn (£3.9bn) in capital has come via traditional method through the CBP, yet Mr trump has likewise ordered almost $10bn in department of Defense (DoD) funding to be sail - a move that has sparked legal action.

Back in 2019, after ~ his inquiry for a additional $5.7bn because that the wall was rejected and also Congress allotted just $1.4bn, mr Trump declared border control a nationwide emergency and used strength under the nationwide Emergencies act to relocate cash indigenous DoD budgets.

Some $6.3bn the counter-drugs funding and £3.6bn of armed forces construction resources has so far been sail to the wall project, according to the CBP.

But grandfather Trump's decision come bypass congress in this method has triggered a number of legal difficulties - one from a variety of environmental groups, represented by the American polite Liberties Union, along with the claims of California and new Mexico.

Two reduced US courts have actually ruled in favour of this groups, concluding that the diversion of an amount of $2.5bn indigenous DoD to construct barriers in California, new Mexico and also Arizona to be unlawful.

However, the can be fried Court - the greatest federal court in the us - has enabled barrier construction using the funds to continue pending the appeals process. It will certainly hear a difficulty by chairman Trump's management against the reduced courts' decision following year.

Mr Trump made reducing illegal immigration a optimal priority of his management and it has actually been a an essential part the his re-election campaign.

The latest numbers suggest the number of migrants arrest at the southerly border this year have actually fallen ~ doubling in between 2018 and also 2019.

In particular, the number of children and also those travelling in family members groups apprehended at the border has actually dropped considerably in the 12 month to October, contrasted with the vault year.

How lot this fall in numbers is under to the brand-new barriers is unclear, though, and also immigration specialists say the fall is likely to be the an outcome of the deterrent effect of a whole raft of anti-immigration measures introduced by grandfather Trump's administration rather 보다 the obstacle alone.

Those fleeing violence or persecution come the us have found asylum rules tightened, been required to wait in camps for lengthy periods as their situations are determined and also come up against brand-new limits top top the variety of refugees embraced into the country.

The management has also embraced emergency procedures during the coronavirus pandemic that enable agents to expel those crossing the border earlier to Mexico, bypassing typical immigration and asylum proceedings.

"Any impact that the physical wall surface has had in reducing unauthorised migration has paled in comparison to the administration's bureaucratic wall," states Sarah Pierce, us immigration policy analyst in ~ the live independence Migration plan Institute.

A series of "interlocking policies" have actually "significantly decreased unauthorised arrivals", she called the

But although numbers for detentions in ~ the border are most likely to have actually dropped for the year as a whole compared with 2019, monthly figures have to be rising due to the fact that the spring and also reached a 13-month high in September.

This is driven partially by solitary adults native Mexico who have actually been make the efforts to go into the united state repeatedly, according to CBP figures. Data mirrors the "recidivism rate" - the number of repeat crossers - has actually risen through 37% since the end of March.

Mark Morgan, CBP's exhilaration commissioner, has said worsening economic problems due come the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico and also further afield could be to blame.

Thousands who have actually made the journey to the southern US border have uncovered refuge in short-term border areas - often in shanty communities with small infrastructure or resources and vulnerable to pressure from violent organised-crime gangs.

According to human being Rights Watch, these migrants space under threat from criminal organization which kidnap castle on the assumption that they have actually relatives in the us who can be extorted because that money.

In the city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, hundreds of people set up one together camp in 2018 near the entry point, in the scrubland top top the banks of the Rio Grande.

By the start of this year, the camp had about 3,500 human being living in tents - men, women, and also children indigenous across central and south America and also beyond. Another 10,000 asylum seekers room thought to it is in living in other places in the city.

Charities such together the people Food Kitchen, the Dignity village collective and an international Response management (GRM) carry out food, tents, clothing and also medical care to those life in the camp, where around 50% of citizens are under the age of 15.

But Andrea Leiner, manager of strategic planning because that GRM, states coronavirus and July's Hurricane Hanna have had actually dire consequences.

Coronavirus restrictions have meant the border has actually been closed because that all but essential travel and immigration hearings have actually been postponed.

Hurricane Hanna no only lugged floods to the camp but likewise caused one infestation of rats, snakes and mosquitoes, forcing plenty of residents come flee.

Ms Leiner says the recurring blows of plague, famine, and hurricane, on top of the legitimate restrictions, have actually drained people of hope.

"These civilization have nowhere to go. Lock can't go home - they will be killed if they go residence - and also they can't gain into the US, for this reason they are stuck in this purgatory ideal now and we don't check out that ending any type of time soon," she says.

Mr trumped has asserted in the past that 90% of heroin in the united state comes across the southerly border and that a wall surface would aid the fight against drugs.

However strengthening and extending the border barrier is i can not qualify to do much to mitigate illegal medicine - such as heroin, cocaine and also methamphetamine - because most come through created border checkpoints, known as ports of entry.

While the majority of the heroin in the united state does come indigenous Mexico, the medicine Enforcement management says many of the is concealed in privately own vehicles or transporter lorries, blended with various other goods, and also smuggled through legal entry points.

CBP numbers for drugs - excluding marijuana - seized ~ above the southerly border also show many come through ports that entry, return a report by the conference Research organization does state the border obstacles can offer to push world to cross in locations where lock are more likely to be "detected, intercepted, and also detained".

Rodney Scott, chief of the united state Border Patrol, agrees - and also gives the instance of mountain Diego, wherein he states cartel lorries offered to drive across the border "three or 4 at a time top top an almost daily basis, with high-speed pursuits throughout town".

"Those stopped automatically with the border wall system, " that says. "It does not typical cartels will protect against smuggling drugs - currently we're going to address tunnels and other facets - yet it thrust that threat, the daily life-and-death threat for children waiting because that a school bus close to the border, the end of those areas."

Smugglers likewise appear increasingly to be using watercrafts to shot to land drugs on the beaches of southern California - with the number intercepted by CBP's air and marine work jumping 82% last year.

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Marijuana is the many trafficked drug, with an ext than 227 tonnes seized ~ above the southerly border this year. It is additionally the medicine most most likely to be smuggled in locations away native the border checkpoints.

Traffickers consistently use secret tunnels to smuggle tonnes that marijuana, mainly in the California and also Arizona stretches of the border.