Construction crews broke ground Monday for a new "bollard wall" intended to replace roughly 20 miles of vehicle barriers along New Mexico's southern border.
Border Patrol agents held a groundbreaking event on Monday for a new "bollard wall" intended to replace roughly 20 miles of vehicle barriers along New Mexico's southern border.
Though the replacement wall doesn't match the stature or complexity of the eight border wall prototypes built in California, Border Patrol agents insisted to reporters on Monday that the bollard wall is the same wall that President Donald Trump famously promised voters throughout his campaign.
"This is the beginning, in this sector, of the president's border wall, yes," Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Hull, of the US Border Patrol's El Paso sector, said at a press briefing.
Trump has run into numerous obstacles in constructing his wall — the most significant being Congress' reluctance to fund it.
Lawmakers in March shot down Trump's request to provide $25 billion for the wall, much to his annoyance. Instead, Congress supplied only $1.6 billion for border security and fencing similar to what already exists along the border.
See what the bollard wall looks like:
A 20-mile stretch along New Mexico’s southern border, near the Santa Teresa port of entry, is currently lined with a short vehicle barrier.
The Customs and Border Protection agency said this particular sector has seen a high number of arrests related to illegal border-crossing and drug smuggling.
In fiscal year 2017, Border Patrol agents arrested 25,193 people for crossing the border illegally. They also seized 34,189 pounds of marijuana and 140 pounds of cocaine.
CBP awarded a construction contract in January to the Montana-based Barnard Construction. The company has been tasked with removing the existing vehicle barrier and replacing it with the bollard-style wall.
Construction on the new wall is expected to take roughly 400 days and cost $73.3 million. Those funds will come from 2017 Department of Homeland Security funding.
Though reporters on Monday questioned whether the bollard wall is truly the wall Trump had envisioned, Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Hull said it is "accurately described as a wall because it's a very serious structure."
Hull said the wall will be 18 feet, including a five-foot anti-climbing plate at the top. He added that the wall consists of concrete filled with rebar — and it delves six feet into the ground with an additional two feet of concrete positioned below.
"Sir, it's very much a wall. And we're going to use it to stop illegal entries," Hull told one reporter. The 20 miles of vehicle barrier replacements should be finished in roughly 400 days.