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Is the DHS ‘Walls Work’ Memo Real?

Fact Checks Politics

Is the DHS ‘Walls Work’ Memo Real?

Kim LaCapria
walls_work_memo

Claim

The Department of Homeland Security released an oddly-phrased memo with the title, "Walls Work."

Rating

True

Reporting

On December 12, 2018, a purported Department of Homeland Security memo about the proposed border wall began circulating on social media.

Titled “Walls Work,” its original wording was widely described widely as “bizarre” due in part to its unusual, labored syntax. Visiting direct links to the memo led to a page that read in part:

WE ARE BUILDING THE FIRST NEW BORDER WALL IN A DECADE.

DHS is committed to building a wall at our southern border and building a wall quickly. Under this President, we are building a new wall for the first time in a decade that is 30-feet high to prevent illegal entry and drug smuggling.

FACT: Prior to President Trump taking office, we have never built a border wall that high.

Once funding was provided, DHS began construction of border a wall quickly, in some locations in as little as nine months from funding to building – a process that commonly takes two years or more in other parts of Government. By the end of FY 2019, DHS expects to have construction completed or underway for more than 120 miles in the areas it’s most needed by the U.S. Border Patrol. The pace of construction has picked up as initial limiting factors like land acquisition and funding have been addressed.

Screenshots of the original message were widespread on sites like Twitter and Facebook, and were also broadly documented in the news media:

This, somehow, is an actual DHS press release: “DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly.” https://t.co/T3p6ecj4NS pic.twitter.com/lcDXZozvo6

— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) December 13, 2018

As demonstrated by innumerable screenshots, the original “Walls Work” memo read:

WE ARE BUILDING THE FIRST NEW BORDER WALL IN A DECADE.

DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly. We are not replacing short, outdated and ineffective wall with similar wall. Instead under this President we are building a wall that is 30-feet high.

FACT: Prior to President Trump taking office, we have never built wall that high.

At least one Twitter user shared a possible explanation for the lexical choices used in the memo as quoted, comparing the use of “wall” in that context to that of other building material:

The Department of Homeland Security’s “Walls Work” memo did originally say the government was “building wall and building wall quickly” in its first version. Since it was replaced somewhat quickly, many readers were likely confused when they viewed content indicating the quotes were real, only to click through to a since-altered memo. Nevertheless, the screenshots authentically show the original wording of the document.

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