While funding to construct new border wall segments is still up in the air, work began today on replacing a dated barrier in the El Centro Sector near Calexico, Calif.
Customs and Border Protection said the 2.25-mile section, built in the 1990s out of recycled scraps of metal and old landing mat, is being replaced with 30-foot high bollard-style wall extending westward from the Calexico West Port of Entry.
In a press release, CBP called the refurbishment one of the department’s “highest priority projects.”
“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has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross border activity, smuggling organizations damaged and breached this outdated version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years, resulting in costly repairs,” CBP said.
In fiscal year 2017, the El Centro Sector apprehended 18,633 illegal immigrants and seized 5,554 pounds of marijuana, 483 pounds of cocaine, 1,526 pounds of methamphetamine and 2,521 ounces of heroin. During that period, there were 21 assaults against 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,” CBP said. “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.”