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Efforts to rush parts of President Donald Trump’s border wall in his final days in office are doomed, and in some places have actually harmed border security, according to campaigners.
Witnesses to the work in Arizona told Insider that mountainous locations of the border are easier to reach now than when Trump took power four years ago, as the part-finished process involved building new roads over rough terrain.
This is a small proportion of the whole border, hundreds of miles of which have been fortified.
But sources told Insider they’ve seen a resulting increase in incursions in these weak spots, which were previously too inhospitable to be much of a security concern.
The campaigners Insider spoke to have opposed the wall from the start. But, they said, they could not help but notice an irony in the project harming its own aims.
The end of the wall
Trump is due to leave office on January 20, and his successor, Joe Biden, has pledged to bring wall construction to an immediate halt.
He suggested in December that related Trump-era asylum policies could in fact be reversed at a slower pace, but the incoming administration has made no further comment about the wall itself, according to The Washington Post.
Canceling wall construction would leave behind infrastructure like roads and staging areas, created to give contractors access to difficult terrain in remote mountainous border regions. In many of those areas, it now looks unlikely any wall will be completed.
Sources told Insider that parts of this landscape will be more passable than in 2016.
None of these sources has worked in border security. But Myles Traphagen, a Tucson-based biologist for the Wildlands Network, pointed out that the remote areas being built on now are places that conservationists spend decades watching closely and understanding intimately — often alongside border officials.
Officials with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) argued to Insider that the construction would make their job easier, and defended the necessity of the work still being done.
In September 2019, Trump promised that 450 miles of new wall would be done by the end of 2020. Government contractors such as Southwest Valley Construction and Fisher Sand & Gravel have been rushing to meet this deadline.
Neither company responded to requests for comment.
According to CBP, as of December 31, 398 more miles of border were newly walled off than when Trump took office. Along 54 miles, the agency said a second barrier had been added to the first.
CBP presented this combined figure as 453 miles of new wall as a triumphant fulfillment of Trump’s promise of 450. The US-Mexico border is 1,954 miles.
Trump is now planning a celebratory visit to Alamo, Texas, on January 12 to tout the achievements of the wall, despite the problems the project may leave.
Roads in the wilderness
The bulk of what Trump contractors have already built is on the flattest areas where construction is easy.
But, as companies hurried to meet Trump’s deadline, they moved on to mountainous areas — in some cases, blasting away at places where there will …read more
Source:: Business Insider