Friday, September 5, 2014

One month later: gap still in U.S. Mexico border fence from monsoon

Tucson News Now
August 27, 2014
by Maria Hechanova

NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There is still a big gap in the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Nogales, Arizona just west of the Mariposa Port of Entry.

It has been one month since the monsoon dumped a lot of rain in a small area in a short amount of time. The large amount of rushing water crossed the border and drained from Mexico into the U.S. in this area taking the fence down with it.

Tucson Sector U.S. Border Patrol agents say the reason for the delay is because contractors are waiting to fix the fence when the ground is less saturated.

The estimated repair date is still to be determined, though contractors have already assessed the damage and determined how the repairs need to be made.

Weather-related border fence damage does not happen often. According to officials, the last time something like this took place was back in 2011 in Lukeville, in western Pima County.

Right now, agents are continuing to monitor the section of missing fence in Nogales on the ground and with cameras to make sure there is not a security threat or breach. Though according to one BP agent on the scene there have been people trying to cross over into the U.S. via the hole, on foot.

According to agents, it is an already highly visible spot and no extra resources are necessary to keep it safe. Agents already assigned to the area are just keeping a closer eye on it.

The fence, which agents say can range from 18 to 26 feet tall in the area is made of steel, rebar, and concrete and is set deep in the ground. They say it would not make any sense to put the fence up now, because the foundation would not set correctly or hold up well in the next storm.

It is unclear if any modifications will be made to the original design to make the fence stronger or prevent an event like this from happening again.  There is also no word yet on how much the repairs will cost.

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