- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

President Trump won border wall funding in the spending deal and he’s building the border wall he promised, the White House said Wednesday, pushing back against critics who say the barrier is actually a fence.

“The president said he was building a wall and he’s doing it,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at the daily press briefing.

He was beating back questions about whether the “steel bollard design” barriers authorized in the spending bill satisfied Mr. Trump’s campaign promise for a massive concrete wall.

Democrats crowed about forcing Mr. Trump in spending negotiations to drop his demand for money to build a wall on the border with Mexico. But the administration nevertheless secured $321 million for 40 miles of “border fencing,” including the bollard steel design and levee walls.

The 20-foot tall fence or wall is currently being installed in Naco, Arizona, and Sunland Park, New Mexico. Additional sections will soon be built in San Diego, El Paso, Texas, and in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Mr. Spicer said.

He referred to the bollard design as a “bollard wall.” The design, which consists of rows of closely-spaced steel bollards capped, is commonly refers to as both a fence and a wall.

The administration has said that funding for the wall promised by Mr. Trump will be negotiated in the spending bill for the next fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Mr. Spicer presented photographs of breaches in current fencing along the southern border, including places where people dug tunnels, cut through wire fencing and put ramps over the fence to drive cars across.

The Government Accountability Officer reported that between fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2015, Customs and Border Protection recorded 9,287 breaches in pedestrian fencing at an average cost of $784 per breach to repair.

“We have a porous border right now. We have broken fences, things that can be cut through, places that can be literally driven over. And to replace this with 20-foot high bollard wall will protect our country, something that the DHS has designated the most effective way to do this,” said Mr. Spicer. “That’s what we got out of this bill.”

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