By: Jim Geraghty – nationalreview.com – December 12, 2018
What You’re Not Hearing about the Slowly Growing Border Wall/Bollard Fence
Trump in yesterday’s meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi: “One thing that I do have to say is, tremendous amounts of wall have already been built, and a lot of — a lot of wall. When you include the renovation of existing fences and walls, we’ve renovated a tremendous amount and we’ve done a lot of work.”
As I’ve detailed in two articles for NRO, it is more accurate to say that under previously passed legislation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to pay contractors to replace sections of spotty or insufficient fencing with 18-foot-tall bollard walls — tall steel bars with gaps in between them so that Border Patrol officers can see what’s happening on the other side. (A border-wall contractor argued in March, “If your wall is see-through, you’re basically a fence.” For what it’s worth, the Border Patrol prefers the slats because it’s easier to see migrants approaching, attempting to climb the wall, or trying to evade authorities.)
You can get a sense of the bollard wall in this CBP photo of Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan touring the San Ysidro port of entry with Rodney S. Scott, the chief patrol agent for San Diego Sector, and CNN reporter Chris Cuomo.
About 40 miles worth of old, damaged, or porous fencing have been replaced or are being replaced by bollard fencing in six spots, near the communities of Calexico and San Diego in California; Santa Teresa in New Mexico; and McAllen and Mercedes in Texas.
The 18-foot-wall is not impossible to climb, but not easy, either. On Friday, a pair of Guatemalan teens sustained severe injuries after they fell off the wall while attempting to illegally enter near Yuma, Ariz. According to CBP, “Border Patrol agents arrived on scene and requested assistance from local Emergency Medical Services. Additional Border Patrol agents certified as Emergency Medical Technicians arrived with a backboard and assisted EMS with stabilizing the two subjects. The remaining four illegal aliens were taken into custody.”
The wall has signs posted reminding people that climbing is dangerous:
(It is not exaggerating to say that U.S. Customs and Border Protection does something dramatic and fascinating every couple of days. They seized more than a ton of cocaine from a boat in the Eastern Pacific on December 2. CBP seized nearly $7 million worth of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin hidden in a tractor trailer at the border crossing near Pharr, Texas on December 9. They caught more than 240 people, largely Guatemalan nationals, in a 48-hour period this weekend, near the Lukeville, Ariz. port of entry. Also this weekend, agents patrolling near Hidalgo, Texas, captured two groups, totaling 172 illegal aliens from Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, comprised of family units and unaccompanied children.)
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump made his wall project sound like building the equivalent of the Great Wall of China from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico; in January 2016, he said, “My ambition is for ours to be much higher” than the Great Wall, and a month later, he described it as “probably 35 to 40 feet up in the air.” Obviously, that’s not what’s being built. But from the way Trump is talking now — “tremendous amounts of wall have already been built” — in his mind, this is close enough.
Not all of his supporters may agree. As Ann Coulter sees it, “Not one inch of Trump’s wall has been built.”
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