New border wall going up in Nogales

Published: Apr. 13, 2011 at 9:30 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:19 PM MST
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NOGALES, AZ (KOLD) - An 18-foot-high steel fence is the latest line of defense separating the United States and Mexico.  The 2.8 mile fence replaces a sheet metal design that went up in Nogales in 1994.   According to officials here, the benefits of the new fence are many.

"This project is 2.77 miles of PV1, bollard style fence...which is both a vehicle and pedestrian barrier," says Mike Tatusko of Granite Construction, a Tucson-based company that built similar fences along the US-Mexico border in San Diego and El Paso.

Construction began at the beginning of April and is expected to continue into July.  When complete, the Nogales area will have approximately 12.5 miles of pedestrian fencing along the international border.

Because of the fence's robust construction and engineering design, officials say getting through it, over it or under it isn't going to be easy.

"As you can tell, it's definitely going to be more difficult to climb up and over this fencing," says Andy Adame of the U.S. Border Patrol.  "So we expect to reduce the number of illegal entries in the area."

Through the years, we've seen so many images of illegal immigrants easily making their way into the United States.

Recently, a video was released on YouTube showing two teenaged girls climbing a border fence in less than 20 seconds. The video claims, it costs the government 4 million dollars for every mile of border fence.  As the girls reach the top, the video asks is all that money really worth it?

Federal authorities say you can't put a price tag on national security.  Not only that, they say this latest fence is bigger, stronger and much more difficult to navigate.

"Let's just say it's difficult," says Sabri Dikman, Agent in charge at U.S. Border Patrol Station Nogales.  "Nothing's impossible to cross - it's difficult - and what it does is it buys our agents time."

Speaking of agents, they're one group who stands to benefit most by the new border fence.

"The majority of our assaults take place very close to the fence," says Agent Dikman.

Over the last six months, 100 such assaults against agents have taken place in the Nogales area, Border Patrol officials say.  All but one of those cases have occurred in immediate proximity to the border fence in downtown Nogales.

The reason why, officials say, is because the old fence's sheet metal design made it impossible to see through.  The new fence is constructed of steel rods that are fashioned together vertically, but with several inches of space in between.  This will allow agents to see what they're potentially encountering on the other side.  According to the agents we spoke to, this will mill make their jobs significantly safer on a daily basis.

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