Unlawful border crossings in some areas of Arizona with new wall – AZFamily
PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – Donald Trump may have last visited the U.S. border with Mexico as President on Tuesday. Trump celebrated the new replacement fence that was erected along the border during his tenure.
"I kept my promises. And today we are celebrating an extraordinary milestone, the completion of 450 miles of the border wall," said Trump.
However, the data compiled by the U.S. Border Protection Agency raises new questions about whether the billion-dollar wall is worth the price. CBS 5 Investigates found that more people illegally crossed the southwest border and were arrested in the last month than in December since 2000. The main point, critics say, is people getting past the wall.
According to statistics from Customs and Border Protection, 70,630 migrants were arrested in the southwestern border area last month. In December of fiscal 2019, 50,751 people were arrested after crossing the southwestern border with Mexico. And in December, before Trump was elected, there were 37,014.
Much of the southwest border has no wall barrier, but some of the elevations appear to be in areas where a new border wall has been erected.
In the Border Patrol's Tucson sector, which encompasses most of the Arizona-Mexico border and where much of the new border fence has been erected, 11,137 people were arrested last December after illegally crossing the border. In 2019 there were 4,912. Critics argue that the increasing numbers after the addition of the new border fence shows that it is not working.
"It could be 100 feet tall and it's not going to stop, you know, drug trafficking and migrants," said John Kurc, who has spent the past four months documenting the construction of border walls.
While he was at the border, Kurc said he saw the materials that border crossers use to climb the new 30-foot barrier.
In a remote location in southeastern Arizona, the San Pedro River flows north of Mexico and crosses the United States border under a majestic canopy of tall poplar trees.
"I looked at the wall. They had tied these strips of material very, very tightly to the bollard themselves. And it was like a ladder that they actually went up or climbed the wall," said Kurc.
Kurc believes the clear cuts and roads that construction workers left behind made it easier for migrants to cross places where the natural terrain used to be too steep and rough.
Environmental groups want Biden to tear down parts of the new border wall
"These refugees, refugees, are actually crossing the same areas now as never before," Kurc said.
U.S. Border Protection officials have stated that the new barrier in and of itself is only part of the strategy to prevent illegal immigration. But Trump administration officials sold the wall to the American public as a necessary and effective tool.
The photographer captures fragments of the border wall flying to Mexico
During Trump's last visit by the president to the border, he described the wall as "successful", although he did not mention the increase in cross-border commuters.
Morgan Loew's heavy-hitting investigation can be seen on the CBS 5 News at 6:30 pm on weekdays. and 10 p.m.
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