CALEXICO, Calif. – Construction of a border wall replacement near downtown Calexico began Wednesday starting the repair of heavily damaged barriers in a critical area of the southern border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
The area of the border wall replacement will be an approximately 2.25-mile section replaced with 30-foot high bollard style wall. 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. 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has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross-border activity, smuggling organizations damaged and breached this outdated version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years, resulting in costly repairs.
Landing mat is another name for corrugated steel panels which is easy to defeat with basic tools and one of the oldest fence types in-use by the border patrol. Bollards are concrete pilings which, in this case, are 30-feet tall. Bollards are typically used to prevent vehicle incursions into areas where they are unwanted, but the 30-foot height signals that these will be close enough to also prevent humans from getting through.
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, 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.
Leadership within the El Centro Sector has made great efforts to collaborate with local and state authorities to address any issues that may occur during the construction period. The Border Patrol works diligently with supporting agencies to ensure its presence minimally disturbs the surrounding environment and habitat.
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.