During a press conference at the White House on Thursday morning, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan confirmed reports that all border wall construction that has taken place so far was simply replacing old and broken down border barriers.
"Every mile of wall that’s being built is a new mile of wall," Morgan said. But "right now, the 78 miles that have been built have been built where there was an existing form of barrier."
He also said that the next portion of wall that is set to be constructed will be in Texas on a section of land that did not previously have some kind of existing barrier.
MORGAN: So, 78 miles of new wall has been built.
QUESTION: So, much of that, obviously, is replacing wall that formerly existed, the President said was insufficient. How many miles of wall now exist where there was no wall whatsoever?
MORGAN: So, again, my--my response to that is: Every mile of wall that's being built is a new mile of wall.
QUESTION: No disagreements. But how many--but 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 [the Rio Grande Valley], where we're building miles of new wall where there has been no structure there at all.
QUESTION: So that's just now starting the construction of new wall--
MORGAN: That's correct...
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.
(Video via Washington Post)