Tuesday morning, officials with the U.S. Border Patrol announced that they are working with the Government of Mexico to stop people from cutting the border barrier/fence from the south side of the border.
The existing barrier represents a challenge to Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) who are organizing and executing daily illegal smuggling attempts. The use of improvised ladders and continual breaches to the international border barrier fence have become the preferred strategy of the TCOs.
TCO members use cutting tools, grinders, and acetylene torches to breach the border barrier; this damage represents a large repair expenditure.
Officials say that, on average, breaches to the international border barrier are discovered on a daily basis, and damage to the existing border barrier has significantly increased.
“So far in Fiscal Year 2021, the El Paso Sector has encountered 714 barrier breaches. The average cost to repair a breach ranges from $300 to $400 depending on the type of border barrier and the remoteness of the location which vary greatly from downtown El Paso to Animas, New Mexico,” Border Patrol officials shared.
If the international border barrier fence is left unrepaired, it becomes an exploitable access point for TCOs, operating in the El Paso and Juarez border region.
This initiative is currently being established in Mexico and the United States so that those caught can be prosecuted in either country.
“Once a perpetrator is apprehended, United States Border Patrol (USBP) agents must present (within 12 hours) a complaint, which will include the formal statement of complaint, estimated cost of repair, images of the damage, and constitution of ownership of the International Border Wall System,” officials added.
The cooperation is already seeing fruits, as last week, USBP agents along with Ciudad Juarez Police Officers, conducting mirrored patrols on both sides of the border, detected two individuals cutting the border fence on the Mexican side of the border. Ciudad Juarez Police Officers arrested the two Mexican Nationals.
“Here in the El Paso Sector, we continue to build bridges with our Government of Mexico partners to increase safety and security in our communities along our shared border,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez.
“The fence cutter initiative is just another example of our strong collaborative binational efforts holding criminals accountable for their lawlessness that exploits migrants, Mexican nationals, and Americans alike.”