As of Oct. 29, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and its partners at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have constructed 76 miles of new border wall system since construction began in January 2017. Construction is underway for an additional approximately 160 miles.
“It’s not just a wall; it’s a wall system. It’s got integrated lighting and technology and access roads,” Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said in an Oct. 29 news conference. “It’s not about keeping good people out; it’s about keeping bad people out. It’s about keeping drugs out that killed 68,000 people in this country last year. It’s about making sure the cartels don’t become a multi-billion dollar industry each year at the expense of the citizens in this country. The wall serves to impede and increase our ability to apprehend criminal illegal aliens before they make it into the interior of the United States, before they make it to your neighborhoods.”
Construction workers recently completed 14 miles of new border wall system located within the San Diego area. This project included the construction of 18-foot steel bollards, improved road conditions and additional sensor technology in place of eight-foot high, dilapidated and outdated pedestrian fencing. The new secondary border wall system, which is currently under construction in the same location, will create a complete enforcement zone.
“The construction of the new border wall system supports [the Border Patrol’s] ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations while increasing safety by allowing agents to observe activity just immediately south of the border wall,” said San Diego Sector Acting Deputy Chief Kathleen Scudder.
In addition, CBP, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began installing the first panels for new border wall system in the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley in Texas at the end of October. The busiest sector in the nation, the area is Border Patrol’s highest priority location for new border wall system construction. The sector accounts for approximately 40% of the illegal alien apprehensions and ranks first in cocaine and marijuana seizures.
“Having previously worked in Tucson Sector, I’ve seen how walls are extremely effective in changing the operational environment in which we work,” said Rodolfo Karisch, Chief Patrol Agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector. “Locations where physical barriers have been constructed saw reduced illegal immigration flows, organized smuggling and environmental degradation. I look forward to putting this capability to work in new locations in RGV Sector.”
Since January 2017, CBP has received approximately $9.8 billion to construct approximately 509 miles of new border wall system through a combination of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense funding and the Treasury Forfeiture Fund (TFF).
“We’ve prioritized wall system needs across the southwest border and will be putting this funding to use in the areas that will see the greatest impact to border security,” said Chief Brian Martin, head of Strategic Planning and Analysis for the Border Patrol.
By the end of 2020, CBP expects to have completed a total of 450 miles of new border wall system, pending availability of real estate.
“Not only will the border wall system slow or stop illegal activity to give agents time to respond, but its design will help keep them safe while they patrol the border,” said Chief, U.S. Border Patrol Carla Provost. “We’re excited to bring this new capability to the agents in the field.”