Border fence at the Calexico Port of Entry (Josh Denmark/Customs and Border Protection)

DHS Says Bollard Fencing Success Justifies $5B Border Wall Request

While Congress and the White House negotiate over border wall funding along the U.S. southern border with Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security says that it is building the first border wall in a decade, and that 120 miles of 30-foot-tall steel bollard fencing “in areas most needed by the Border Patrol” will be finished and under construction by the end of the current fiscal year.

“How effective is this new border wall?” DHS rhetorically asked in a Dec. 12 release. “On Sunday when a violent mob of 1,000 people stormed our Southern border, we found the newly constructed portions of the wall to be very effective.”

DHS said that when combined with the funds approved by Congress in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, “if funded at $5B in FY 2019, DHS expects to construct more than 330 miles of border wall in the U.S. Border Patrol’s highest priority locations across the Southwest border.” 

Related: Mattis Approves Extension of Military’s Border Security Mission Through Jan. 31

On Tuesday, President Trump hosted Democratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) at the White House and said before reporters that he would shut down the government if Congress didn’t approve at least $5 billion in border wall funding. Congress has yet to approve any funding for concrete walls, but has provided funding for border fence repairs and enhancements.

“We need a border wall, not in all parts, but in certain parts of the 2,000- mile border,” Trump said. “I am proud to shut down the government over border security… If we don’t get what we want one way or the other, through you or the military, I will shut down the government.” 

The El Centro Sector built approximately two miles of 30′ steel bollard wall west of the Calexico West Port of Entry in southern California. (Source/DHS) 

In FY 2017, Congress allocated $292 million for the Department of Homeland Security to build 40 miles of steel bollard wall in the San Diego, El Centro and El Paso sectors. More than 31 miles of the wall has been built, and the remaining nine miles are scheduled to be finished early next year. 

DHS provided before-and-after photos of a section of the two-mile, 30-foot-tall wall that was completed in the El Centro Sector in southern California in October.

SEE: McAleenan: Border Patrol’s Ability to ‘Detect and Interdict’ Has ‘Never Been Higher’

In FY2018, Congress approved $1.4 billion in DHS funding for the construction of levee, bollard and pedestrian border walls along sectors in San Diego, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and in Yuma and Tucson, Ariz. DHS reported a 90 percent reduction in apprehensions in Yuma since the erection of the wall.  

“The Bottom Line: Walls Work,” DHS stated. “When it comes to stopping drugs and illegal aliens across our borders, border walls have proven to be extremely effective.”  


Multimedia journalist James Cullum is Managing Editor of Homeland Security Today's Federal Pages. He has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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