The United States will resume border wall construction at San Diego Park in California, but the Biden administration has agreed to lower a section of the proposed wall, sources said last Thursday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced last week it had lifted its suspension on replacing a deteriorated border barrier at the Friendship Circle Project, including a “dilapidated primary and secondary border barrier along the border in San Diego.”
Border authorities have said the current structure that extends into the ocean was not properly treated to withstand corrosion before it was installed.
The proposed border barrier will be a 30-foot-tall double wall, the construction of which had stopped in August to “conduct additional stakeholder outreach” and “engage with the community.”
The wall will be made of tightly spaced steel bollards, which are more difficult to see through than the current material.
The San Diego project involves 0.3 miles of double-layer wall that currently rises 18 feet.
But the plans now include lowering one section from the originally proposed 30 feet to 18 feet. The agency agreed to lower the double wall for 60 feet, or about the length of a tractor-trailer.
“After analyzing the feedback it received, along with reviewing the operational conditions of U.S. Border Patrol in this immediate area,” CBP claimed the construction “meets the border security needs of the area while also addressing feedback from the community.”
The agency also said it was “committed to providing visitors on the U.S. side of the border with access to Friendship Park” and would “allow visitors on the U.S. side of the border to communicate with friends and family located in Mexico on the other side of the primary barrier like in years past.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas approved the changes, according to what Fanestil said he was told by CBP officials. Wall construction is expected to take six months.
The move to keep one portion of the wall at its current height comes as California’s Border Patrol agents grapple with record apprehensions of illegal foreign nationals and drug seizures.
For example, there were more than a quarter of a million migrant encounters across the U.S. southern border in December alone.
Arizona and California have seen record numbers of apprehensions and gotaways, with over 800,000 and 300,000 respectively, according to The Center Square. The states seized unprecedented amounts of fentanyl. In one instance, CBP agents in San Diego confiscated enough fentanyl in a single traffic stop to kill over 23 million people.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Randy Grossman sounded off about San Diego becoming “the epicenter of fentanyl trafficking into the United States,” telling Fox News that more than 60% of the fentanyl seized nationwide came through San Diego and Imperial counties.
Moreover, San Diego BP Sector recently announced that its agents seized over 60 firearms last year, signifying an increase of nearly 50% from 2021.
“We have seen an increase in armed encounters,” said San Diego Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke.
“We never know who we’ll encounter as we patrol the border,” he added. “Our agents are the first line of defense against smugglers who have become more aggressive and brazen in their attempts to bring people and narcotics into our country.”