by Molly Prince
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Friday that construction will begin on the U.S.-Mexico border wall Saturday in El Paso, Texas.
Authorized by President Donald Trump in an executive order signed in January, the 18-foot steel bollard wall will replace the existing pedestrian fencing, according to CBP. The project is expected to cost about $22 million and construction is estimated to be completed in April 2019.
“This new wall will be far more durable and far more effective in deterring would-be illegal entrants,” said Aaron Hull, Chief Patrol Agent of the El Paso Sector.
The El Paso Sector experiences a high number of apprehensions — in fiscal year 2017, it experienced more than 25,000 apprehensions, making it the fifth busiest sector. It had the highest number of unaccompanied juvenile apprehensions, according to a CBP report.
El Paso’s congressman, Democratic Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, has long argued against a border wall. Following Trump’s executive order, O’Rourke said the existing chain-link fence “is bad enough” and he will do everything in his power to stop a border wall from being built.
“The surest way to improve safety and security is not to build a wall or spend billions more, but to ensure that we are maximizing the potential from everyone in this state, treating each other with respect and dignity,” O’Rourke’s website states.
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