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CBP

30 miles of replacement border wall complete in New Mexico

President Donald Trump visits the U.S.-Mexico border, east of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego on September 18, 2019. (John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

About 30 miles of the Trump administration’s wall on the Mexican border has been completed in southern New Mexico, according to a Customs and Border Protection official.

And 36 more miles of the project through Doña Ana and Luna counties is expected to be completed in the coming months, CBP spokesman Roger Maier told the Journal.

All 66 miles of the 18- to 30-foot tall bollard wall are replacing vehicle barriers and other barriers that were already in place.

But that will not be the case with another 90 miles of wall in the state in the pre-construction phase.

“It’s actually a combination of both – in place of existing, and in locations where no barriers currently exist,” Maier said of the future construction.

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It’s all part of the Trump administration’s plan to build 753 miles of border wall to replace existing barriers or be placed in areas where there are no barriers. The administration expects construction to cost $15 billion and plans to have 291 miles of new primary wall and 57 miles of new secondary wall in areas where no barriers currently exist. It also plans 380 miles of new primary wall and 25 miles of new secondary wall where barriers are dilapidated and outdated.

According to a CBP-U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Report last week, 126 miles of wall has been completed, but only a mile of primary wall and one mile of secondary wall in an area where no barriers existed.

The construction and the diversion of Department of Defense funds for the projects have been under fire from Democratic lawmakers, immigration advocates and environmental groups and has been the subject of lawsuits, including two challenging the diversion of $3.6 billion in Defense Department funds meant for military projects. The money included $125 million for projects in New Mexico. Department of Homeland Security funding is also being used for the construction.

But Maier said funding for wall projects in the state and currently underway did not come from the $3.6 billion diversion. A 20-mile bollard wall system extending from the Santa Teresa port of entry west is among the 30 miles completed, as is almost 10 miles of the 46-mile project extending west past Columbus. He said the 46-mile project is being funded by fiscal 2019 Defense Department counternarcotics funding.

SLSCO Ltd., a Texas company, is working on the 46-mile project. It was awarded a $789 million contract by the Army Corps of Engineers in Albuquerque.

But a 36-mile segment of the 90-mile project will be funded from the $3.6 billion diversion. The other 54 miles will be funded by fiscal 2020 Defense Department counternarcotics funds.

According to U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, 213 miles of wall is now under construction, with 414 miles under pre-construction.

Border wall: By the numbers

$15 billion — How much the Trump administration believes it will cost to complete border wall

260,000 — Tons of concrete used in building border wall in U.S.

167,000 — Tons of steel used for border wall construction in the U.S.

753 — Number of miles of replacement and new border wall the administration hopes to complete

126 — Miles of border wall in the U.S. completed by Trump administration

90 — Miles of border wall planned in New Mexico in the pre-construction phase

30 — Miles of completed border wall in New Mexico since January 2017

2 — Miles of new primary and secondary border walls in the U.S. so far where no barrier existed

*As of Feb. 21, 2020

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© 2020 the Albuquerque Journal