U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) this month awarded a contract to build a 17-mile section of border wall in Laredo, Texas, where there are virtually no barriers beyond the city’s bustling port of entry.
The $290 million project follows announcement of a contract for 14 miles of new barriers elsewhere in Webb County. That nearby section will run $275 million.
Calling the Laredo Sector an area of “high illegal activity,” CBP says most seizures of illegal aliens and narcotics occur where there are no walls. “These projects will improve the ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations,” CBP said in a statement.
Though the Webb County seat is home to one of the nation’s busiest land ports, a mere 77 acres are protected by border wall. At the southern end of the Rio Grande Valley, barriers shield more than 22,000 acres in Hidalgo and Cameron counties.
Ultimately, the Laredo wall will span 69 miles, extending down into neighboring Zapata County. CBP has proposed a 12-mile barrier in Starr County, just south of Zapata.
Not everyone in Laredo is enthralled with CBP’s plan to plug the gaps. The city council recently approved a “Defund The Wall” mural.
Meantime, criminal cartels run rampant in Nuevo Laredo, the Mexican city that sits across the Rio Grande. The U.S. State Department advises U.S. citizens not to travel to Nuevo Laredo or the state of Tamaulipas.
“Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, is common. Gang activity, including gun battles, is widespread,” the advisory warned.
The chaos spills over into Laredo, where 81 crimes are committed per square mile, versus a median of 27 per square mile in Texas. The local crime count does not include CBP’s apprehension of 21,750 illegal aliens this fiscal year.
With illegal crossings on the rise all along America’s southern border, the new barriers don’t come any too soon. Especially since presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden vows not to build “another foot of wall” if he moves into the White House.