New wall construction begins on NM-Mexico border | KOB 4
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New wall construction begins on NM-Mexico border

Chris Ramirez and J.R. Oppenheim
April 09, 2018 06:49 PM

SANTA TERESA, N.M. -- During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly stated he would build a wall and that Mexico would pay for it. A new wall is going up along the New Mexico's border with Mexico border, but Americans are paying for it.

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For most of the New Mexico-Mexico border, road barriers are what separate the two countries, and it's easy to get through it on foot. Twenty miles of road barriers are being replaced with what is called a bollard wall.

Since Congress hasn't approved full funding for Trump's border wall, U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans on piecemealing sections together. This section of New Mexico's border was a high priority.

"This area of Santa Teresa operations is one of our busiest areas for illegal alien apprehension and has been for several years and a prime corridor for the smuggling of narcotics," said Border Patrol Sector Chief Aaron. A. Hull.

The bollard wall will be as high as 30 feet in some areas as low as 18 in others.

"Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen. This will reduce illegal entry," Hull said. "It's going to help us maintain a secure border, help us establish the operational control that the president has mandated."

This project will cost American taxpayers $74 million. Construction began Monday and is expected to last for a year.

"The wall that we are replacing this fencing with is going to be durable and will be here for a long time," Hull said. "It will be harder to get over, harder to get through, harder to get under. It will have a 5-foot, anti-scaling plate at the top. It will make it hard. Even if you can get to the top, to get over the top."

Monday's wall announcement garnered international interest. Journalists trekked through the Mexican desert to listen to the announcement, careful not to cross into the United States.  

Interesting to see Mexican press joining this press conference from the other side of the border. pic.twitter.com/8MTJycOt8Y

— Chris Ramirez (@KOBChrisRamirez) April 9, 2018

Hull told reporters that in this area of the desert, Border Patrol arrests of migrants have increased by 200 percent in the last year. Their hope is this new wall deters people from trying to enter the U.S. It's estimated that in the last three decades.

"It's going to make it harder for smugglers and border criminals to move freely between the two countries," Hull said.

Ten-thousand immigrants have died in the hot terrain. Some groups worry that as more walls are built, migrants will be funneled into even more inhospitable terrain, leading to more deaths.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will also be in Santa Teresa on Thursday to tour the border wall's construction site and meet with local sheriffs. Nielsen will then head to Artesia to visit students with the FLETC-Artesia Border Patrol Training Academy.

SESSIONS TO SPEAK AT BORDER SHERIFF'S CONFERENCE

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will discuss immigration enforcement during the Southwest Border Sheriff's Coalition's conference this week in Las Cruces.

The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office kicked off this year's conference at the Ramada Las Cruces Hotel Conference and Center on Monday for sheriff's departments along the U.S.-Mexico Border, including agencies from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

Sessions will make his remarks at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the final day of the conference.

Credits

Chris Ramirez and J.R. Oppenheim

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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