Updated: October 02, 2020 10:15 PM
Created: October 02, 2020 07:02 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Scrap metal dealers in Mexico are profiting off construction of the border wall and an Albuquerque company may be at the center of it.
The border has been a staple of President Trump’s campaign since 2016.
“We will build a great wall along the southern border, and Mexico will pay for the wall,” said Trump in August 2016.
In many places, construction crews are replacing Normandy-style vehicle barriers with new steel fencing. It now appears scrap dealers in Mexico are profiting after U.S. contractors allegedly dumped heaps of the old barriers in Mexico – barriers which were paid for by U.S. tax dollars.
“Repeatedly over the last couple of months on the Mexican side of the Arizona border I’ve seen Mexican scrap metal collectors,” said desert ecologist Gary Nabhan, who has worked along the border for decades.
“Heavy machinery was pushing metal from those barriers that had just been bulldozed in those areas to make way for the new wall in Sonora, Mexico,” said Nabhan.
The problem was first reported by a Phoenix area television station, which singled out one company contracted to build new border fencing along the Arizona-Mexico border. The company is Albuquerque-based Southwest Valley Constructors, which was awarded more than $1 billion for the border wall project.
An official with Southwest Valley Constructors declined to comment and referred any response to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Customs and Border Protection has launched an investigation but would not comment any further with the investigation pending.
“All of that metal and concrete should have been carried away to Phoenix or Tucson where there’s legal disposal sites or recycling centers – none of it should have been pushed into Mexico,” said Nabhan, adding that aside from taxpayer waste, there’s also environmental concerns.
“The difficulty is knowing who is perpetrating this lawlessness, whether it’s a contractor or subcontractors – but it was being done in full sight of Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Homeland Security professionals as well as park service professionls that were looking the other way,” said Nabhan.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued KOB 4 the following statement:
"Information regarding the allegations of illegal dumping by one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' contractors performing construction activities along the southwest border has come to our attention. The matter is under review. Due to legal and contractual sensitivities while the matter is under review, additional details are not available at this time. We do not have an estimated time as to when our review will be completed."
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