The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, charged with protecting America’s borders, has announced the start of reconstruction work to replace a section of border wall between California and Mexico in a pre-planned move which is incorrectly being reported as part of “Trump’s border wall.”
According to a statement on the CBP website, the federal government began work Wednesday to replace a section of border wall near downtown Calexico.
“The area of the border wall replacement will be an approximately 2.25-mile section replaced with 30-foot high bollard style wall,” the CBP said.
The project covers an area from approximately the Calexico West Port of Entry extending westward beyond the Gran Plaza Outlets. The project also includes around 2.25 miles of all-weather roads.
“The El Centro Sector wall replacement is one of Border Patrol’s highest priority projects,” the CBP continued.
“Wall in this area was built in the 1990s out of recycled scraps of metal and old landing mat. Although the existing wall has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross border activity, smuggling organizations damaged and breached this outdated version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years, resulting in costly repairs.”
The El Centro Sector “continues to experience a high number of apprehensions of illegal immigrants and drug smuggling,” the CBP statement added.
“In fiscal year 2017, the El Centro Sector apprehended 18,633 illegal aliens, seized 5,554 pounds of marijuana, 483 pounds of cocaine, and 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 a more substantial replacement wall will better ensure the safety of agents and the public and create a better atmosphere for business and commerce, all while enhancing overall border security,” the statement concluded.
In November, SWF Constructors of Omaha, Nebraska, won a contract for $18 million to replace the wall in Calexico, about 120 miles east of San Diego. It encompasses an area bisected by the New River, where smugglers are known to guide invaders. The project, which includes a bridge over the river, is expected to take 300 days.
The administration cleared the way for construction in September by waiving dozens of environmental and other reviews in Calexico. A 2005 law exempted it from environmental reviews if the Homeland Security secretary deems a wall to be in national security interests.
The Trump administration also has issued waivers to build in San Diego and Santa Teresa, New Mexico.