President Donald Trump tweeted a photo on Friday claiming it depicted a section of "NEW WALL" that was "just completed" on the US southern border. The reality is it's just the continuation of a lie he has repeated before.
"The Fake News Media keeps saying we haven't built any NEW WALL. Below is a new section just completed on the Border," he tweeted alongside a photo with an October 1, 2018 timestamp.
The truth is that plans for construction of this part of the barrier began in 2009 to replace a 2.25-mile section of existing fencing along the Mexico-California border, according to a Department of Homeland Security statement released last February. The original section of fencing that was replaced was constructed in the 1990s.
"The El Centro Sector wall replacement is one of Border Patrol’s highest priority projects. Wall in this area was built in the 1990s out of recycled scraps of metal and old landing mat," Customs and Border Protection said in a February 2018 statement.
Katie Waldman, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the section of wall in the president's photo is from the El Centro sector construction project in Calexico — and is not "new."
No new barriers have been built on the southern border in the Trump administration, though some barriers have been replaced.
David Kim, the assistant chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol's El Centro sector explicitly told the Desert Sun last February that the project wasn't connected to Trump's campaign promise to build a wall along the Mexican border.
“We just wanted to get out in front of it and let everybody know that this is a local tactical infrastructure project that was planned for quite some time,” Kim said, to make sure that "there is no confusion about whether … this is tied to some of the bigger immigration debates that are currently going on.”
But that didn't stop the Trump administration from having a plaque affixed to the fence in October 2018 that proclaims that it's the first section of Trump's border wall.
Trump's biggest campaign promise is that he would build a wall along the US–Mexican border and that Mexico would pay for it. That has not come true. Trump has changed his tune over the months, backing off his claim about who would pay, and on Thursday he said he never meant that Mexico would literally pay for the wall's construction.
The government has been partially shut down for the past 21 days after Trump and congressional leaders couldn't reach a funding agreement. Trump has refused to open the government unless he gets funding for the border wall.
The name of Customs and Border Protection was misstated in an earlier version of this post.