Disputed US/Mexico Border Fence Now Under Construction
Heedless of damage to the environment and to relations with Mexico, The US Department of Homeland Security began moving the earth near San Diego to begin work on the border fence, which officials believe will curb illegal immigration.
Border Patrol Agent Jason Rodgers confirmed yesterday that contractors have been using heavy equipment this week to excavate soil from the west side of the canyon, which lies west of the San Ysidro port of entry. The federal government's plan is to build an earthen berm stretching across the canyon to support new steel mesh fencing and roads.
Kiewit Corp., based in Omaha, Neb., was awarded a $48.6 million contract for the work.
At a cost of about $16 million a mile, the fence will be far more expensive than fences the U.S. government is building elsewhere along the nation's 1,952-mile border with Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the average cost along the entire border is $2 million to $3 million a mile.
"It's crazy," said Victor Clark Alfaro, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana. "I don't see the justification to spend $60 million on an area that's no longer an important crossing."
Clark predicted the new fence will reduce crossings to "almost zero" but inflict serious environmental damage.