Border Wall Construction Underway in El Centro
Walls work and are vital to the integrity of the nation.
That was the message President Donald Trump delivered to the public after reviewing U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s wall prototypes on the border in Otay Mesa, California.
“If you don’t have a wall system, we’re not going to have a country,” said President Trump as he toured the eight, 30-foot high border wall prototypes and mock-ups.
Following construction of eight border wall prototypes, CBP tested, assessed and evaluated the features and attributes of each prototype to identify which of them most effectively impede and deny illegal crossings. The assessment and evaluation included testing the eight wall prototypes, input from Border Patrol agents and an engineering analysis.
The President was joined by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, Acting U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost and San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott.
President Trump asked Scott, a veteran agent who was in the same area more than 25 years ago, what was the situation before the existing walls were constructed.
“There was effectively no border in San Diego,” said Scott. “It was a chaotic situation,” adding the current fence, made of scrap metal, has at least helped in deterrence. “It changed our environment. We decreased illegal cross-border traffic by 95 percent.”
President Trump said the new wall will improve the Border Patrol’s ability to secure the border even further. “When we put up the real wall, we’ll stop 99 percent, maybe more than that.”
Scott added the current barrier has also helped economic development on both sides of the border. “They re-established law and order in San Diego when they put up a wall,” said President Trump.
As the President visited the prototypes today, construction workers continued their work in El Centro, California, to replace 2.25 miles of the old barrier. Located about two hours East of Otay Mesa, the new wall will be 30-feet high. The project also includes around 2.25 miles of unpaved roads.
The wall replacement is one of Border Patrol’s highest priority projects.
The barrier was built in the 1990s out of recycled scraps of metal and old landing mat, steel pads once used by the military as landing platforms for helicopters.
Although the existing wall has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross border activity, human and drug smuggling organizations damaged and breached this makeshift version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years, resulting in costly repairs.
El Centro Sector continues to experience a high number of apprehensions of illegal immigrants and drug smuggling. In fiscal year 2017, the El Centro Sector apprehended 18,633 illegal aliens, seized 5,554 pounds of marijuana, 483 pounds of cocaine, 1,526 pounds of methamphetamine and 2,521 ounces of heroin. During that fiscal year, there were 21 assaults against El Centro Sector agents.
The construction of bollard wall design maintains agents’ visibility and better ensures their safety as they patrol along the border.
The President and Secretary Nielsen expressed their appreciation for what CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have done in the area.
“CBP and ICE put their lives on the lines every day to protect our country,” said Secretary Nielsen. “For that, I’m forever grateful. We will build this wall.”
“I want to thank ICE and the Border Patrol agents for their incredible work,” said President Trump. “It’s a dangerous job; it’s a tough job. We’ve cut down on border crossing because of what the Border Patrol has done.”