San Diego

Renovation Complete on Tallest Portion of Border Fence in Southwest US

The renovation is complete on the tallest border fence in the southwestern region of the U.S. and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary called on Congress to move forward with funding of President Donald Trump's proposed border wall.

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen spoke Friday in Calexico, California along the repaired fence near the El Centro Port of Entry.

“Walls work,” she said. “We’ve seen the success of walls in El Paso, in Yuma, in San Diego and in the past, right here in the El Centro sector.”

She also addressed the heightened security around the U.S. due to a series of mail bombs and her department's request for military troops along the border. 

The repairs to an old, dilapidated fence made of landing mats were funded by 2018 appropriations. The construction began in February and ended on Oct. 4.

"Currently, this 30-foot wall is the tallest border wall deployed along the southwest border," said El Centro Sector Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez.

A steel bollard wall has been built in the area considered to be the most active in illegal crossings and attacks on federal agents, Chavez said. 

Early next year, DHS will begin construction on 11 more miles of 30-foot fence. Three more miles of fence will extend to the east and eight more miles of fence will be built to the west. 

The fenced area toured Friday is not part of the prototypes built last year near the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The eight prototypes that stand about 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide are made from a variety of materials.

In a report released in September, some of those prototypes were breached when they underwent testing by tactical teams, including experts from CBP, U.S. Special Operations Command and the Marine Corps Special Operations Command.

Nielsen called on Congress to approve funding for the proposed border wall. There are two bills in Congress that would offer amounts varying from $1.6 billion to $5 billion for funding a border wall, according to NBC News.

NBC News reported in August that White House officials have suggested the entire wall project could cost $8 billion to $12 billion and internal DHS assessments suggest that the cost could be even higher - as much as $21 billion.

While in El Centro, Secretary Nielsen addressed the current investigation into mail bombs intercepted in several states as well as the news this week that the Department of Defense has approved deploying troops along the U.S.-Mexico in support of President Trump.

The department has heightened the security posture at federal facilities around the nation in response to the devices targeting a number of high-profile politicians, Nielsen said.

“If you notice a strange package or if you see something that appears out of the ordinary, do not remain silent,” she said. “If you see something, say something.”

Nielsen also addressed a question regarding the military deployment of troops to the border.

“We have asked for engineering support, logistics support, “ Nielsen said. “I don’t have any information with respect to particular troop numbers, that’s up to DOD to meet our request.”

A new report from the government outlines how the border wall designs can be broken. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala is in Otay Mesa with more.
Contact Us