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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    May 2007

    El Paso sector may see a sturdier fence built on border

    El Paso sector may see a sturdier fence built on border

    By Louie Gilot For the Sun-News
    Article Launched: 10/28/2007 12:00:00 AM MDT

    Click photo to enlargeNew Mexico National Guardsmen filled one of over... (Courtesy photo by Mark Lambie/El Paso Times)«1» COLUMBUS — This is not your grandfather's border fence. The new fence flanking the Columbus port of entry soars 15 feet high and is buried 5 feet into a bed of concrete.

    It is made of more than 17,000 6-by-6-inch steel poles. They are filled to the top with concrete and stand only 4 inches apart.

    It replaces a stretch of chain-link fence that was sliced into daily by immigrants and smugglers; some vehicle barriers that stopped cars but not humans; and, in places, plain cattle fencing.

    Border Patrol officials said this style of fencing has been used in other locations, including Douglas and Sasabe, Ariz., and Calexico, Calif.

    It might now be used, with some variation, in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where the government expects to build 70 miles of fencing by the end of next year, and in El Paso, where a stretch of chain-link fence may be replaced by the sturdier kind. A report specifies the El Paso fence replacement would have to be at least 15 feet high and cut-resistant, although the exact design would be up to the contractor.

    In Columbus, the change has been noticeable, said Andrea Zortman, Border Patrol spokeswoman in Washington, D.C.

    The 3.31-mile new fence is almost impossible to cut or climb. People trying to go around it will find a Border Patrol car lying in wait.

    "This fence has already made significant impacts on operations in this area as it deters or slows illegal incursions into the United States, granting Border Patrol agents the additional time required to respond and apprehend those that are capable of scaling this obstacle," she said.

    Local residents are conflicted.

    "I'm sorry to see it go up because it's always been a sharing community here in Palomas (Mexico)-Columbus," said Sharon Maxwell, curator of the Columbus Historical Society Museum. "But we also have a problem that has developed here that needs to be addressed. (The fence has) made things, I think, a little safer."

    Illegal immigration exploded in Columbus about three years ago, after a border enforcement program in Arizona pushed east.

    In 2005, Gov. Bill Richardson declared a state of emergency on New Mexico's border, especially at Las Chepas, a derelict Mexican town about 15 miles west of the border crossing. The town has been a staging area for smugglers.

    An increase in Border Patrol agents and police in the area, and the arrival of the National Guard soldiers, have helped get the situation under control, locals said.

    James Johnson, vice president of Carzalia Valley Produce, which has fields across from Las Chepas, estimated that crossings of immigrants have gone down from 500 people a night to the current 100. But there's more to be done, he said.

    "When we got the vehicle barriers, it really slowed down the car traffic. We still see a lot of foot traffic. It can be a menace. They destroy crops and there are thefts. You can look around and you still see footprints everywhere," Johnson said. "A fence will work in some places and not in others. I believe this is a very good candidate for it."

    The new fence doesn't reach Johnson's land, but the farmer hopes to get his stretch of steel in about five years.

    Louie Gilot writes for the El Paso Times, a member of the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership, and can be reached at ... st_emailed

  2. #2
    Senior Member zeezil's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    This is not your grandfather's border fence.

    That pretty well says it!
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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