After years of debate and discussion, construction has begun on the border wall in South Texas, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
As part of the President's Executive Order 13767, and at the direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security, construction for replacement of existing pedestrian fencing in El Paso with new steel bollard wall," Chief Patrol AGent Aaron Hull of the El Paso sector said. “This new wall will be far more durable and far more effective in deterring would-be illegal entrants.”
The wall is being built in a stretch that separates El Paso from Juarez Mexico, and where illegal crossings by foot are common.
But the debate is not over.U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio), who is in a tough re-election battle, says a 'non stop wall' over 2,000 miles of U.S. Mexico border, would not be effective.
"When you also start explaining private property rights, I have to remind my colleagues that we care about that here in Texas," Hurd told 1200 WOAI news.
While the sections of the wall which are planned or the stretch in El Paso that is underway, the wall is being built on property already owned by the U.S. government. There are plans to build a stretch in a wildlife refuge in the Rio Grande Valley.
But Hurd points out that in order to build the structure in many places along the border, property will have to be seized from private landowners through eminent domain.
Hurd says there are better ways to make sure the border is secure.
"We should know who and what is coming back and forth across the border, and the way to achieve that is with more people and more technology."
"The ability to see through into Mexico is a concept supported by the steel bollard wall included in this project. The bollard design wall has proved beneficial to the Border Patrol to detect illegal entries and the smuggling of narcotics into the United States by providing situational awareness of activity south of the wall," Customs and Border Patrol said in a statement.
CPB says, in addition to the availability of government owned land, the current construction site was chosen due to the Juarez El Paso area being one of the hot spots for illegal immigration and drug seizures, with more than 25,000 illegal immigrants seized last year, not to mention dozens of assaults against Border Patrol agents.
The wall in the El Paso area will be 18 feet high, and is expected to be completed next spring, at a cost of $22 million.