U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers started construction Wednesday to replace a decaying stretch of a 2.25-mile Mexico–United States barrier, swapping it out for a new and improved 30-foot high bollard style wall.
This is the first border wall contract awarded in the Trump administration outside the eight prototypes that were built last year near Tijuana, Mexico.
According to CBP Public Affairs, the 2.25-mile project will stretch from the Calexico West Port of Entry extending westward beyond the Gran Plaza Outlets and include all-weather roads paralleling the new wall.
KESQ-TV, an ABC-affiliated television station for the Coachella Valley licensed to Palm Springs, used their Newsdrone to survey the area where the new wall construction is underway.
CBP states that the construction is located in the El Centro Sector, which is one of the “Border Patrol’s highest priority projects.”
The current barrier in Calexico was erected several decades ago from recycled scraps of metal and has been proven to be widely ineffective in preventing illegal cross-border activities.
The unlawful cross-border activities in the El Centro Sector are stunning. CBP provides a breakdown of seizures made by officers for the 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.
CBP spokesman Carlos Diaz told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday, the project was fully funded by fiscal 2017 appropriations, which will also fund projects in Southern California, New Mexico, and in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
Back in November, the Trump administration awarded the $18 million contract to replace the barrier in Calexico to SWF Constructors of Omaha, Nebraska.
And lastly, the administration is trying to find $18 billion in funding to extend and complete the Mexico-United States border wall. Recent funding efforts to pay for the entire stretch failed last week in the Senate.
The one question we ask: Will the Trump administration have the border walls erected in time to thwart a Mexican drug cartel war spillover into the United States? Don’t be shocked if the Trump administration labels the drug cartel wars just south of the border as a national security threat. Perhaps, that would be enough to spur emergency funding to pay the entire stretch…