Work Progressing On Mexico Border Wall Protoypes
Construction crews are already building some of the border wall prototypes along the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego.
A construction crew used a crane to hoist a 30-foot tall border fence section into place just a few dozen feet north of Mexico.
The operation took less than 20 minutes. Another piece of the structure was already waiting on a flatbed truck brought to this location just east of San Diego's Brown Field.
The demonstration project is part of the Trump Administration's plan to replace and install walls between Mexico and the United States.
The plan has prompted concern from environmentalists who worry the project and a fully built wall will harm sensitive habitat to the east.
"Native chaparral habitat and that provides better habitat for species like the Quino Checkerspot butterfly which is highly imperiled, on the brink of extinction, coastal California gnatcatcher, and other species," said Brian Segee of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Even the existing prototype construction site might have destroyed rare vernal pool habitat, according to Segee, who is disappointed that the Trump Administration is using exemptions that disregard U.S. environmental laws.
Border agents are not as concerned about the habitat. They want to replace a border wall that is a bit more porous than what officials hoped for. Officer Theron Francisco stands near the two fences that separate the U.S. and Mexico.
One is an 18-foot tall secondary fence, and it is just a few dozen feet away from the original fence. That original fence was not designed to keep people out.
"It can easily be scaled, they can climb over it in seconds. That was not the purpose of it. The purpose was to stop traffic coming through and it served that purpose. And this one is primarily to stop pedestrian traffic."
But this wall is not as secure as border officials would like.
People routinely jump the first fence, run across the open space, and cut through the metal screen of the second fence. That happens in a matter of minutes.
"We've had compromises all different sizes. Usually, it's the size of whatever, somebody, a human can get through," Francisco said.
The San Diego fence was compromised more than 500 times in the past year, according to Francisco.
Replacement fences will have to be more secure. Half of the prototypes are 30-foot tall concrete walls. The rest are made from other materials.
All eight prototypes will have to be built by October 27th.
That is the deadline to be ready for testing.