We are getting a better picture of how $251,000,000 in the newly signed federal budget for border security in the San Diego region will be spent.
According to Customs and Border Patrol, the money is for the replacement and repairs on fences at the border that stretch from the Pacific Ocean east some 15 linear miles ending one mile east of Border Monument 251.
Border patrol says this is an area with high illegal entry and two types of fences as a result. A primary and secondary fence that will be upgraded and portions replaced with this money. The secondary fence is made from material from the Vietnam War era and is only 8 to 10 feet high. Says Border Agent Eduardo Olmos, “It does have challenges. It can actually be cut or compromised with the saw or axe and smugglers can actually make a hole to get their group across within 30 seconds.”
But groups who support immigrants say funding in the hundreds of millions to repair fences at the San Diego/U.S. Mexico Border is money wasted. ”That money could be better used for other projects that would improve the relationship between U.S. and Mexico,” says Pedro Ruiz with the American Friends Service Committee.
Part of the money will also be used to enhance the Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry and add some additional roads along the border. There is also a waiver for the construction of a prototype located at the east end of the secondary fence to be replaced.
“The infrastructure has worked great for us and has made a huge difference. It does need to be upgraded and that's what we're trying to accomplish in the next following year,” says Agent Olmos.