APRIL 14, 2008
New fencing along a previously open desert stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border has repeatedly been breached by northbound illegal immigrants armed with torches, hacksaws, ladders and bungee cords.
In a much-needed effort to protect the southern border, the U.S. government erected the fence along a 1.5-mile desolate portion of the Mexican border that was never the less extremely vulnerable to illegal border crossings into New Mexico and Texas.
It was billed as an efficient deterrent with 15-foot, cement-filled steel poles firmly planted several feet into the ground. The towering poles and sturdy fencing have done little to keep illegal immigrants from making it north, however. U.S. Border Patrol agents immediately discovered holes in the fence made with acetylene and plasma torches, hacksaws and other high-powered tools.
Cameras monitoring the area have also recorded illegal immigrants using massive ladders to scale the fence’s south side and bungee cords to safely land into the U.S. side. More illegal immigrants prefer to make holes closer to the ground, however. Border Patrol agents say it’s common to see several new gaps weekly.
In fact, the Border Patrol has a team assigned to finding and welding holes in the fence. In some busy California and Arizona crossing areas, the problem is so severe that the government hires special contractors to help with fence repairs. All this has been taken into consideration as the U.S. prepares to build the 670 miles of fencing ordered by Congress (Secure Fence Act) last year. That plan calls for building the barrier with panels of woven steel instead of the towering posts.
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