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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

DHS to construct new bollard walls in Yuma, El Paso

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is planning to construct new bollard walls within the U.S. Border Patrol’s Yuma and El Paso sectors in Arizona and Texas.

The projects call for approximately 53 miles of new bollard wall — which is a wall made up of steel slats — in place of dilapidated and outdated designs. The DHS issued waivers, published in the Federal Register on April 24, to expedite construction.

The DHS, according to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, requested that the Department of Defense (DoD) assist with the construction of fences, roads, and lighting in specific areas along the border to block drug-smuggling corridors between the United States and Mexico. These projects meet the statutory requirements so they will be funded by appropriations available to DoD.

DoD, working with DHS/Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will execute these projects in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which awarded the contracts on April 9. The Yuma projects were awarded to Barnard Construction Co. Inc. for approximately $187 million, while the El Paso project was awarded to SLSCO Ltd. in the amount of $789 million.

The Yuma wall will total approximately seven miles of bollard wall starting at the Morelos Dam and extending south and generally following the Colorado River. The El Paso wall will cover approximately 46 miles. The Yuma and El Paso Sectors are areas of high illegal entry where large numbers of individuals and narcotics being smuggled into the country illegally. Officials say the bollard wall will impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities.

DHS also issued a waiver for a 26-mile fence replacement project in the Yuma sector. It is funded by CBP’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) Appropriation, via a waiver. It is not pursuant to President Trump’s National Emergency Declaration, nor does it draw from any other source of funding, including appropriations available to the Department of Defense (DoD).

The wall will be built starting at the intersection of County 21 and West Main Canal Road extending south and generally following the Colorado River until it crosses the international border between the United States and Mexico.