The Trump administration has been pouring money into the construction of additional border fencing along high-risk regions, such as Yuma, that experience massive waves of illegal immigration every year.
It took the project a while to get up and running, but border agents said they’ve already noticed a difference.
“Two thousand, nine hundred drive-through vehicles came through Yuma sector alone in one year,” said Anthony Porvaznik, head of Border Patrol’s Yuma office.
“We caught maybe one out of 10 of those, if that,” he continued. “So we have no idea what got away at that point because there was no fence.”
Now, however, arrests in the region have dropped significantly, Porvaznik said.
His agents are actually able to patrol the region, whereas, even as recently as last year, arresting and taking care of detainees occupied most of agents’ day-to-day responsibilities.
As of November, border crossings in Yuma had dropped by 71%. Agents are now on track to arrest about 12,000 illegal immigrants this year. Last year, they had arrested 144,000 by May.
Unlike past border fencing, this new wall actively prevents crossings.
The new wall is “comprised of six-inch square posts filled with concrete,” according to the Examiner.
There’s “a gap of four inches” left “between each post to allow agents to see through the fence,” the report says.
Agents know that it works because the one five-mile stretch of land that has not received the new border fencing is where most of the illegal crossings are occurring now.
Before this new wall, the Yuma region depended on a “hodgepodge” of barriers. There were “bits of wall” installed throughout the region, but they were built from leftover metal scraps and were no taller than 10 or 12 feet.
Smugglers were easily able to slip through the unfenced areas, even after Border Patrol inserted posts in certain areas. All of that has changed now, according to Porvaznik.
When illegal immigration picks back up, the additional miles of fencing will give law-enforcement the upper hand, he predicted.
“We’re much better positioned right now to deal with that traffic when they do come than we have been in the past,” Porvaznik said.
The new #borderwall system is stronger and see-through giving the agents the upper hand. This is what the frontline men & women of the #USBP requested and are currently getting. https://t.co/leENcYyU1r
— Chief Rodney Scott (@USBPChief) October 26, 2020
Yuma is not the only part of the country proving the wall’s success. Rodney Scott, chief of Border Patrol, said the “wall system” has blocked 90% of attempted crossings over the past year.
Before the wall, the border stopped less than 10% of illegal crossings.
“It changes everything,” Scott said in a statement, according to the Washington Examiner. “There is a huge return on investment.”
Border Wall System update:
▫️ 131 miles completed
▫️ 208 miles under construction
▫️ 414 miles in pre-construction pic.twitter.com/QdZVAdWRrj
— Chief Rodney Scott (@USBPChief) March 2, 2020