One of the many lowlights of President Barack Obama’s tenure in office was his woefully lax enforcement of border security, namely the construction and maintenance of the fencing along the southern border.
The Government Accountability Office recently released a public version of a review they conducted at the request of Congress regarding the state of our nation’s border security, and it included some stunning revelations.
Aside from the revelation that only about 654 miles of the nearly 2,000-mile-long border has any sort of fencing, with only about half of that being designed to prevent or slow “pedestrian” crossings, the report also revealed a rather stark limitation to the fencing’s effectiveness that has been grievously exploited by criminals and illegal migrants.
CNS News noted that between fiscal years 2010 and 2015 there were a reported 9,287 breaches in the 354 total miles of “pedestrian” fencing, which is broken down into the “legacy” fencing made of older chain-link fencing versus newer, more “modern” varieties of fencing.
The GAO report denoted that the older legacy fencing was breached in roughly 82 locations per fence mile while the modern fencing suffered breaches in only about 14 locations per fence mile.
The breaches in legacy pedestrian fencing typically only required the use of bolt- or pipe-cutters and could be done fairly quickly. Breaching the modern fence required the use of portable power tools to cut through the thick metal vertical slats known as “bollard-style” fencing.
Though cutting holes in the fence was by far the most likely method of breaching the border, the report also noted that, particularly in areas where erosion or weather has had an effect, criminals and illegal migrants have easily scaled the fencing, used ramps to drive vehicles over top of it, or even attempted to burrow underneath it to illicitly enter the country.
The report further noted that virtually all maintenance and repair work was done by private contractors, and while breaches in the fence were certainly considered high-priority and quickly patched, they came at an average cost of $784 per breach to repair.
Complicating matters further was an admittedly confusing process used by the various agencies at the border to identify, prioritize, fund and ultimately deploy repair and replacement efforts, a process that will hopefully be improved and streamlined.
President Donald Trump made border security a hallmark of his campaign for the presidency, and it is highly likely that he will embark on an effort to not only repair and upgrade the failing stretches of border fencing, but will expand upon them with further construction of his vaunted border wall.
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