Neetu Chandak, DCNF
New Mexico is progressing on its 20-mile border wall construction west of Santa Teresa, replacing old posts and rail barriers as part of President Donald Trump’s initiative to halt illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said more than 8,100 panels stretching over 11 miles were built as of Aug. 8, according to the Associated Press Friday.
“It’s going to be harder to get over, harder to get through, harder to get underneath,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Hull of the El Paso sector told the Albuquerque Journal on April 9. “It’s going to have a five-foot, anti-scaling plate at the top.”
The barrier will be as tall as 18 feet in some areas, depending on the location. The “wall of steel” was approved in 2017 and construction of the $73.3 million project began April 9, the Journal reported.
Environmentalists sued over the construction because they said the wall would block migration patterns of wildlife, the AP reported March 22. Mexican gray wolves, Aplomado falcons and kit foxes are among the wildlife creatures that inhabit the area.
“Waiving these safeguards to rush construction of President Trump’s ill-conceived border wall will no doubt adversely impact the communities and wildlife along the border,” senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife Jason Rylander said in a statement, according to the AP.
El Paso Border Patrol caught more than 25,000 people crossing the border and captured over 34,000 pounds of marijuana along with 140 pounds of cocaine in fiscal year 2017, according to the Journal.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Defenders of Wildlife for comment, but did not receive an immediate response in time for publication.
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