In an effort to build up to 450 miles of new border wall by the end of the year, the Department of Homeland Security has just announced the completion of 400 miles of the structure.
The controversial wall, said Chad Wolf, acting Homeland Security Secretary, is replacing existing barriers in some sections of the southwest, and made up of an “18-foot to a 30-foot bollard-style wall, complemented with roads, enforcement cameras and other related technology.”
Averaging around 10 miles of new wall per week, Homeland Security, in conjunction with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Protection, has said new wall construction is expected for San Diego, Yuma, Tucson, El Paso, and through large swaths of the Rio Grande Valley.
The work has been particularly intense in the Guadalupe Canyon, on the Arizona and New Mexico border, where steep slopes have been dynamited to make way for just under 5 miles of wall structure.
The project has been opposed by a number of different groups, many of which have raised concerns about its environmental impact.
The Sierra Club has charged that the new barrier will “cause flooding and damage pristine wild lands, including wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, and national forests.”
Two weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear several cases taking the Trump Administration to task for spending around $2.5 billion in funds for the wall project.
Those funds, earlier approved by Congress, were originally supposed to target hundreds of new construction and facility upgrade projects at military bases across the country.
At the same time, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Trump Administration’s use of emergency powers to divert spending from military bases to the wall is unlawful. The Court made that decision in response to a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club.
Progress on the wall has been slow but steady: some 100 miles of the 18 to 30-foot tall bollard structure were completed as of last January, a number increasing to 370 miles as of early October.
To date, the project has been comprised of some 556,000 tons of steel and 797,000 tons of concrete.
By Garry Boulard
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