US

30-ft Border Wall Construction Underway To Replace Secondary Barrier in San Diego

By Kimberly Hayek

SAN DIEGO—Approximately 90 feet of secondary border wall has been built to replace an old fence in San Diego, California. It’s an update agents said was desperately needed, in part, to keep up with modern tools designed to take them down.

The new secondary 30-foot-high steel wall will replace a 16-foot stamp-steel mesh fence, which Border Patrol Agent Theron Francisco said was regularly breached.

“It can be compromised and cut really quickly with today’s power tools that are readily available. In the ’90s those types of tools weren’t readily available like they are now,” Francisco told NTD News on Feb. 22. “It can be cut and people can get through in about 30 seconds. That doesn’t give us much time to make an apprehension or go after those who illegally cross—so it was time to get an updated wall.”

Border Patrol Agent Theron Francisco in front of the new secondary barrier being constructed along the border in San Diego, Calif.m on Feb. 22, 2019. (Kimberly Hayek/The Epoch Times)

Construction began on Feb. 18. It is the fifth border wall section under President Donald Trump’s administration, according to news reports on Feb. 20.

The construction project replaces 12.5 miles of existing barrier from the Pacific Ocean to the base of Otay Mountain in San Diego. A new one-and-a-half mile portion of the barrier will be added, making the entire 30-foot wall 14 miles long.

The vertical steel bollards will go 6-feet deep and will be filled with concrete. Border Patrol agents told NTD News on Feb. 22 they expect the depth to prevent vehicle drive-overs and rudimentary tunneling.

“Our primary wall did not go into the soil at all, it sat right on top. We saw rudimentary tunnels under that old primary fence on a daily basis,” Francisco said. “They happened throughout our 60 miles of border that we’re responsible for. They only take the alien smugglers a couple of hours to dig and we saw them on a daily basis.”

Construction firm SLSCO Ltd. of Texas was awarded the $131 million contract in December 2018, according to Francisco.

The construction started a few days after President Trump declared a national emergency over border security that will allow for funds to build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Several states have filed lawsuits over Trump’s declaration in the aftermath.

In several tweets, Trump criticized California’s role in the lawsuit against the declaration.

“As I predicted, 16 states, led mostly by Open Border Democrats and the Radical Left, have filed a lawsuit in, of course, the 9th Circuit!” he wrote before turning his crosshairs on the Golden State.

“California, the state that has wasted billions of dollars on their out of control Fast Train, with no hope of completion, seems in charge!” he wrote.

There are two layers of the barrier along the first 14 miles of the westernmost part of the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California. It is the second layer of the barrier to be replaced in San Diego, and the first layer is expected to be completed in one to two months.

An 18-foot-tall steel bollard fence replaced the approximate 10-foot-tall Vietnam-era landing mat fence that was constructed in the 1990s.

Francisco said the size of the infrastructure alone, which is topped with an anti-climb plate, will deter those trying to cross illegally.

“I believe just the sheer size of them now, with our primary wall roughly at 18-feet-tall and the new secondary gonna be at about 30-feet-tall—just the sheer size of that will deter a lot of people.”

Our old infrastructure was not intimidating, it wasn’t hard to get over. We would see infants, small children, get over that wall with help from, you know, from people in their group. We’ve seen elderly get over that. Just the sheer size of our new infrastructure will deter a lot of people.”

Francisco confirmed that the border wall prototypes President Donald Trump visited in 2018, will be removed from the site to make way for the secondary replacement project.

Francisco said illegal apprehensions have drastically reduced since updating the primary and secondary walls and hopes the entire southwest border will implement the same system they have in San Diego. “A primary wall, a secondary wall, an all-weather-road, technology, lighting in between.”

Our goal is to use the lessons learned here in San Diego and develop this border infrastructure system throughout the southwest border so we can control the border more effectively,” he said.

The Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.