Gangs in Mexico are reportedly using power tools to cut large holes in walls at the southern US-Mexico border, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
The steel-and-concrete sections of the walls, which President Donald Trump said was the solution to the flow of undocumented immigrants coming across the US-Mexico border, can be sawed apart with at least one commercially available cordless tool that retails for less than $100, according to the Post. Their story cites US border officials with knowledge of the damage.
Officials also told the Post that smugglers have repeatedly scaled and climbed over the walls with makeshift ladders, particularly in areas near San Diego.
The report says that the lack of government reporting means it is unclear how many times they have occurred. US Customs and Border Protection declined to provide further information about the number of wall breaches to the Post. One deterrent is electronic sensors that are yet to be added but could sense where and when the wall was damaged, triggering repairs. But, one former border chief said smugglers would likely eventually find a way around those as well.
Despite the president’s continual effort for the wall, environmental and immigration experts have expressed doubts about its possible effects on nearby areas and its overall efficacy.
According to the Post’s report, smugglers are exploiting the “bollard” style design that the administration eventually settled on, which has been described as part of a “border wall system” as agents insisted a wall alone couldn’t safeguard the border.
NBC News reported in January 2019 that a test of a steel bollard wall in Trump’s chosen design by the Department of Homeland Security showed the wall could be sawed through.
Photos of the breaches were not included in a redacted version of an internal February 2018 US Customs and Border Protection report that mentioned the faults, NBC reported. Trump denied the validity of the photos, saying it was “a wall designed by previous administrations.”