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Walls Work: El Centro Sector

Walls Work: El Centro Sector


Since the U.S. Border Patrol
began constructing border barriers nearly 30 years ago, these barriers have proved
to be a critical component in gaining operational control
of the border. Illegal drug
and human smuggling activity have decreased in those areas
where barriers are deployed. Illegal cross-border traffic
has also shifted to areas with legacy border barriers
or no barriers at all. To enhance border security, the Border Patrol is making
significant investments to build a new wall and replacing
existing, inferior barriers. The first project completed
is here in the Border Patrol’s
El Centro Sector in California. The two mile stretch of border
immediately west of the Calexico West port of entry has been
a consistent hotspot for illegal activity. The border barriers in this location
install 22 years ago are failing
to fully address this threat. Made of a square to frame and corrugated steel mats
leftover from the Vietnam era, the old barrier left agents
unable to see who or what was approaching
from the south putting our agents in danger. In 2018,
this area of the border accounts for nearly 70 percent
of the use of force incidents in the El Centro sector and it’s among the highest
in assaults of U.S. Border Patrol agents in the nation; resulting in one assault
for every 90 apprehensions. Since the old barrier was built,
a shopping center opened in 2013 just steps away from the border. This proximity to local pedestrian
and vehicle traffic allowed illegal border crossers to
quickly vanish into the population. Border Patrol recently
completed construction of approximately two miles
of new steel bollard border wall in this location. The new wall is 30 feet tall
and as part of a system that includes capabilities
like roads, cameras and sensors. With the wall system in place,
agents will gain the time they need
to respond to illegal activity preventing border crossers
from disappearing into the community. Additionally,
the steel bollard design reduces the risk to agents’ safety by allowing them
to see through the wall. The border wall in El Centro Sector
has three key benefits. First, it protects
our Border Patrol agents – our most valued resource
in the organization. Second, it helps
the Border Patrol gain and maintain operational control
along this section of the border. Third, it supports a safe
and secure border community that is more appealing
for local businesses, schools and residents alike.
The bottom line is: Walls Work. The investment and just two miles
of new border wall construction will dramatically improved border security conditions
here in the El Centro Sector. That’s good for El Centro Sector,
and it’s good for our nation. Border wall projects are underway
across the southwest border right now: replacing dilapidated barriers,
closing gaps in existing wall, and constructing
new border wall systems. These projects are focused
on high priority locations that will benefit most
from investments in border wall. With each new mile of border wall, alongside other investments
in technology and manpower, the Border Patrol continues to enhance
operational control of the border. A more secure border
means a more secure nation. A protected border is essential to
our national and economic security.

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