Razor wire installed at border wall to surprise of locals
NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Active duty military members rode a boom lift Wednesday, Nov. 7, to install yards and yards of concertina wire, or razor wire as its commonly known, high atop the 20-foot concrete border walls in Nogales, Arizona.
It's the latest initiative to sharpen security measures along the United States' southern border as a large caravan of Central American migrants seeking asylum makes its way through Mexico.
It was a strange sight to see and capture for Joy Herrmann of Rio Rico. She was taking her own pictures on her digital camera of the security work being done after she crossed through the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales.
"I'm not comfortable with barbed wire going up. Especially without any notification to this area whatsoever," Herrmann said. "It's uncalled for. There's not a necessity."
But Herrmann's belief are not the same as the Trump Administration's belief.
The Army's 62nd Engineer Battalion from Fort Hood, Texas, working Wednesday on the razor wire installation in Nogales, was among the roughly 7,000 active duty military members deployed to Arizona, Texas, and California, prior to the midterm elections Tuesday.
The President has made a pledge to sign an order that could lead to the large-scale detention of migrants crossing the southern border and bar anyone caught crossing illegally from claiming asylum, the Associated Press reported.
They are tasked with security and support for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as an estimated 5,000 migrants make their way through southern Mexico via caravans or in smaller groups, according to Mexico's Interior Ministry.
The ministry said Saturday that 2,793 migrants have pursued refugee status in Mexico in recent weeks and around 500 have asked for assistance to return to their countries of origin, the Associated Press report stated.
Some of those 5,000 are likely coming to the U.S. but are still about 1,200 miles away from Nogales, AZ, as of Sunday night estimates.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they are monitoring the progress of the migrants.
"We continually assess the capabilities of our facilities throughout the Southwest border and have been making - and will continue to make - necessary preparations," a CBP spokesperson said in a statement to Tucson News Now.
The spokesperson said additional measures include staffing with support from interagency partners.
“Regardless of the operational contingencies we may face, please know this: we will ensure border security – we will not allow a large group to enter the U.S. unlawfully; we will act in accordance with the highest principles of law enforcement; and we will treat intending migrants humanely and professionally at all times. CBP’s highest priority is the safety and security of the American people, the traveling public, CBP personnel and the communities in which we serve.”
In an attempt to contact public affairs officials for the Army Engineers to learn more about their tasks and work expected to be completed, staff directed Tucson News Now to a phone number that was not in service. Calls to the public affairs for explanation were also not returned.
"What's being done is a little bit too extreme," Herrmann told Tucson News Now.
Employees at American stores on North Morely Avenue in Nogales, AZ, who see customers cross daily to shop, said the military presence is hurting their bottom line.
"This is affecting them, because they are scared," said Alexis Gomez, an employee at Sam's Perfume, who was surprised to see the large military vehicles and razor wire.
It's not a pretty picture for Herrmann and her camera.
“All it does is send a very negative, negative message about this country and I hate to see that.”
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