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In a letter to the president, Mr. Hunter said just 17.9 miles of the new double-tier fencing has been constructed as of Aug. 10 — putting the administration off the pace he said it needs to build 392 miles by May 30. All told, he said the fence is supposed to reach 854 miles which, because of the region’s geography, will seal off about 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Washington Times reported earlier this month the U.S. Border Patrol sent out a memo calling for agents to volunteer to help build fencing because they are going to fall short of their goal.

Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the White House, said they are trying to secure the border by adding Border Patrol agents and vehicle barriers. He said there are 100 miles of fencing on the border, and they want a total of 145 miles by September, though those figures include single-tier fencing and fencing that was built in prior years.