Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to seal off the U.S.-Mexico border. But on Thursday, the president told reporters that he only intends to cover “anywhere from 700 to 900 miles.”
“It’s a 2,000 mile border, but you don’t need 2,000 miles of wall because you have a lot of natural barriers. You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious. You have some areas that are so far away that you don’t really have people crossing. So you don’t need that. But you’ll need anywhere from 700 to 900 miles,” he told reporters on Thursday.
In fact, that’s a good description of what’s already along the southern border. Some 650 miles of the border has already been blocked off with pedestrian or vehicle fencing as a result of President George W. Bush’s 2006 Secure Fence Act, which authorized the construction of a 700-mile wall of double layer fencing. “You know, we’ve already started the wall because we’re fixing large portions of wall right now,” Trump said. He explained that the repairs were “making it new,” and thus “in a true sense, we’ve already started the wall.” His remarks suggest that his promise to “build the wall” could involve erecting as little as 50 miles of new barriers.