More than $1.5bn (£1.24bn) of border wall funding has produced a mere 1.7 miles of fencing along the nation’s southern border, a federal judge was told.
US District Judge Haywood Gillam requested the information while considering requests by 20 state attorneys general and the environmental group Sierra Club to prevent Donald Trump’s administration from using the funds to build the wall.
Congress previously appropriated the total $1.57bn (£1.24bn) to be used towards the president’s long-time campaign promise throughout the entirety of the 2018 fiscal year.
An attorney representing the state attorneys general wrote in a court filing “it appears that [Customs and Border Protection] has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing with its fiscal year 2018 funding.”
The new figures from the border — which show that less than a mile of construction has been done since the administration last reported in late February — caused Mr Trump to lash out on Twitter at “the haters” and defend his vow to build a wall sprawling the entirety of the US-Mexico border.
“Much of the Wall being built at the Southern Border is a complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings,” the president wrote on Wednesday morning in a series of tweets. “Problem is, the Haters say that is not a new Wall, but rather a renovation. Wrong, and we must build where most needed….”
He added: “Also, tremendous work is being done on pure renovation - fixing existing Walls that are in bad condition and ineffective, and bringing them to a very high standard!”
The motion filed by 20 states decried Mr Trump’s decision to circumvent Congress and pull federal funds by invoking a national emergency declaration, with attorneys general describing the move as an “abuse of power.”
“This wall is unnecessary, and an abuse of power that will take away resources that could be used to help Americans across our nation,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement when the motion was filed in April.
The motion followed a lawsuit filed in February against the president’s national emergency declaration.
The federal judge was provided the latest information on the border wall funding and construction during a 17 May hearing.