Construction workers building President Donald Trump’s long-promised wall along the United States/Mexico border have made significant progress in New Mexico, The Associated Press reported.
The project, approved last year, began April 9 and will cover 20 miles in total.
The construction is taking place west of Santa Teresa, near New Mexico’s state line with Texas.
As of Aug. 8, more than 8,100 panels spanning over 11 miles had been constructed, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
Construction involves replacing the miles of barriers currently in place with a fence made with thick steel posts.
“The wall will stand at least 18 feet tall (5.4 meters) and could go as high as 30 feet (9.1 meters) depending on the undulating terrain. It will have a 5-foot (1.5 meter) metal plate at the top to discourage climbing,” Business Insider explained.
The former barriers prevented vehicles from crossing, but not people.
“It’s going to be harder to get over, harder to get through, harder to get underneath,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Hull of the El Paso sector told the Albuquerque Journal on April 9.
“It’s going to have a five-foot, anti-scaling plate at the top.”
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“It’s going to deter all but the most determined illegal entrants from entering the United States here,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Hull.
Environmentalists have sued in an effort to stop the project, arguing its an impediment to wildlife in the area.
“Waiving these safeguards to rush construction of President Trump’s ill-conceived border wall will no doubt adversely impact the communities and wildlife along the border,” senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife Jason Rylander said in a statement.
However, advocates of the wall insist it’s necessary to curb drug trafficking and illegal immigration.
In 2017 alone, more than 25,000 people were caught crossing the border by the El Paso Border Patrol and over 34,000 pounds of marijuana along with 140 pounds of cocaine were captured, the AP reported.
The wall is estimated to cost $73 million and is projected to take one year to complete.