OTAY MESA (NEWS 8 / AP) – In Otay Mesa, it’s the first week of construction of a steel wall for the secondary border barrier separating the United States from Mexico.
This part of the project is included in the $131 million federal funding allocated for a new bollard-style, steel secondary barrier, which is designed to replace the previous, insufficient fencing.
"This draw is one of the busiest draws in the San Diego sector Border Patrol for illegal crossings,” said Border Patrol agent Michael Scappechio.
There is 14 miles of primary fencing directly facing Tijuana and located behind it is the secondary fencing. The first barrier stands 18 feet tall and is almost completed, while the secondary is much taller at 30 feet.
“It is also going to be outfitted with some smart technology, some fiber optic capability which gives us the opportunity to attach sensors to it – detection sensors,” said Scappechio.
The goal is to stretch several miles of steel wall up into Otay Mountain.
“We are approaching 25,000 [apprehensions] since October 1st – that is a lot of people,” said Scappechio.
President Trump’s eight border wall prototypes are still on display, but one hasn't been selected for the final project. According to Scappechio, they will be coming down eventually, but there isn't a specific date or time as to when that will happen.
The construction project is expected to take 10 months to complete.
Trump declared an emergency last week to shift billions of dollars to fund border wall construction.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is set to vote next week on whether to block that declaration. Some members of the Republican-controlled Senate have indicated it could pass that body as well.
If it does, Trump has promised to veto the measure.