EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The federal government is using counter-narcotics funds to build or replace several miles of border wall in El Paso.
Upgrades are ongoing just south of the Border Highway west of the Ysleta port of entry and include a 4-mile stretch to be topped with concertina wire. The area has been identified as one with a high level of illegal entry and activity.
The project is happening at 17 miles of border in the vicinity of Ysleta and 18 more miles elsewhere in the El Paso Sector.
That includes 31 miles of new primary border wall in place of “dilapidated designs,” 3 miles of new secondary border wall and 1 mile of new primary wall system where no barriers currently exist, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“New border wall system may include a combination of attributes which vary by sector based on threat and operational needs,” the agency said in an email to Border Report. “CBP is placing concertina wire as an attribute of an approximately 4-mile stretch of new border wall system based on El Paso Sector’s current requirements in this location. Completion is estimated on October 2020.”
As of August 14, a total of 5 miles of new primary wall replacing dilapidated fencing have been completed, according to federal officials.
“The existing dilapidated pedestrian fencing in this location no longer meets (the U.S. Border Patrol’s) operational needs. Construction of new border wall system within the El Paso Sector will improve the Border Patrol’s ability to slow or stop illegal activity,” the CBP email said.
The Department of Defense is funding the work using Section 284 Counter Narcotic Funds. That section of U.S. Code authorizes the Secretary of Defense to provide support for federal, state, local or tribal agencies and even foreign police agencies to counter the activities of transnational organized crime.
At least three Mexican drug cartels are known to be operating across the border from El Paso. The region has also long been known as a hotspot for unauthorized border crossings.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said a $400 million contract was awarded to SLSCO on April 22 for the 35 miles of border wall. The company, also known as SLS, is the same that’s working on a stretch of border wall from Santa Teresa to Columbus, New Mexico.
This project is one of several seeking to upgrade or build new barriers at the Southwest border. For an summary of ongoing border wall work, visit the CBP Border Wall website.