Smugglers are sawing through the border wall

Probing Trump’s plan to seize land for wall

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CBS News that smugglers are sawing through portions of the wall at the southern border, although he downplayed the extent of the breaches. The Washington Post first reported Saturday that in recent months smugglers have used commercially available power tools to saw gaps in the bollards in new sections of the border wall, and have also used makeshift ladders to scale and climb over the wall.

CBP spokesman Matt Leas disputed the Post’s characterization of these repeated breaches, telling CBS News that “it’s happening but not to the point where it’s an issue.”

Leas confirmed the Post’s reporting that these breaches have amounted to a few instances, arguing that the new border fencing has significantly increased security and deterrence. While there have been cutting breaches in the new border wall, Leas said CBP still considers the bollard system superior to previous barrier designs.

Trending News

“Any characterization that the wall is not working is ridiculous. The wall is working. Criminals are trying to defeat it and they are going to continue to try new tactics, which we will also defeat,” Leas said.

Leas said he has spoken with numerous border patrol agents about the border wall, and that they have all said that it is important, it helps, and they need it. He claimed CBP agents have told him: “We 100% need the border wall.”

Building the wall at the southern border has been a key priority for President Trump. Mr. Trump declared a national emergency in February to secure funds to build the wall after Congress refused to appropriate money for its construction.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly claimed that new portions of the wall are already being built, although Mark Morgan, acting chief of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, admitted during a press conference at the White House in October that none of the 71 new miles of border wall the administration has built are new “linear miles.” That means the administration is thus far replacing existing barricades or wall instead of adding wall in places where no barricade or wall existed.

The Trump administration aims to build more than 400 miles of border wall by the end of 2020.

Kathryn Watson contributed to this report

Categories: US & World News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *