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Border Patrol tops border wall in El Paso with concertina wire

Border fence with two layers of concertina wire near the Bridge of the Americas. (Mark Lambie / El Paso Times/TNS)

Construction workers are topping the U.S.-Mexico border wall in El Paso with reams of concertina wire, creating a dangerous additional obstacle to illegal crossings.

The U.S. Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector put up the razor wire “to dissuade individuals from scaling the border wall and to reduce the risk of injuries sustained from falling off the barrier,” said Roger Maier, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Patrol’s parent agency.

“It is an added obstacle,” he said in an email. “It also extends the time for agents to respond by adding to the amount of time it may take some who is entering illegally to disappear into the community.”

The wire is going up along a stretch of now 30-foot barrier between El Paso’s Downtown Paso del Norte bridge and the Bridge of the Americas, Maier said. He couldn’t immediately say whether the razor wire is part of the original replacement-barrier contract or separate.

As border security measures increase, migrants’ attempts to enter the U.S. undetected have become more risky.

In July, a woman who attempted to scale the border wall near Sunland Park, N.M., fell and suffered a fatal head injury.

Smugglers have also adapted their methods. Earlier this year, Border Patrol agents were finding makeshift, camouflaged ladders hung by smugglers on the wall to help migrants over the top.

Border Patrol leadership maintains that while its 18- and 30-foot fencing isn’t an insurmountable obstacle, the infrastructure buys agents time to respond to a potential illegal crossing and also helps deter illegal entries.

The El Paso region has seen illegal crossings by single adults rise for six months straight.

Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, which includes New Mexico, apprehended 7,347 adults in October, a number that has increased each month since April, when agents apprehended 1,568 adults in the sector.

Apprehensions of single adults more than doubled from October a year ago, when 2,784 adults were apprehended in El Paso sector.

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(c) 2020 the El Paso Times

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