Loots and Ladders: Scaling Trump’s $27Million-a-Mile Wall for $5
Remember the Wall? The “big, beautiful Wall” that Mexico was going to pay for to keep out all of the “undesirables”? The Trump Administration paid out $27 million per mile for a structure so flimsy and ineffective, anyone with a basic $5 ladder can scale it.
According to a new profile in Texas Monthly Magazine, the 55 miles of wall intermittently stretched across the Rio Grande Valley have unpatrolled spots where ladders are strewn about, indicating just how easy it is for some to cross the border into the United States. While many seek asylum legally and get escorted into the country by border patrol via gates in the wall, others just take advantage of the clear lapse in security.
Many border patrol agents are aware of the ladders, referring to the discarded ones as being from “our regulars”, many cobbled together from cast-off pieces of found wood. Some are as long as the wall is high (about eighteen feet) and others are just tall enough for a migrant to reach the top.
In recent months, the number of migrant captures has soared. Border Patrol caught more than 171,000 migrants along the southern border in March, the highest one-month total in fifteen years. Despite the obvious vulnerabilities, some border agents say the wall serves a purpose. While it won’t stop everyone, it does slow them down and gives agents time to react. The Texas Monthly piece quotes Chris Cabrera, a McAllen-based Border Patrol agent and local spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union that supported Trump:
“Nine times out of ten we’re going to catch them,” Cabrera said of immigrants who use ladders. But lately, Border Patrol agents have been swamped with the volume of immigrants in the Hidalgo area and cannot effectively respond to climbers. “We have people turning themselves over, and at the same time, when it’s dark we have people with ladders, but we got nobody to go over because we’re tied up.”
Trump’s border wall is an environmental catastrophe. Thanks to @NBCNews for covering our efforts to repair the damage, restore the land & tear the most harmful sections of wall down for good. Full segment here: https://t.co/OTmkZBoXHt pic.twitter.com/r4oxCOXZPi
— Laiken Jordahl (@LaikenJordahl) April 23, 2021