Saudi teen reaches Canada

The Columbus Dispatch - - Morningstarters -

can re­sult in higher costs.

The Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice es­ti­mated in 2018 that new bor­der-wall con­struc­tion av­er­ages $6.5 mil­lion a mile, but it said ter­rain, build­ing ma­te­ri­als and other fac­tors in­flu­ence costs. Texas’ wind­ing Rio Grande and the val­ley’s lush veg­e­ta­tion are more chal­leng­ing for erect­ing walls than are Ari­zona’s flat deserts.


In 2006, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment com­pleted a 30-mile stretch of steel bar­ri­ers to keep peo­ple from il­le­gally cross­ing into the Or­gan Pipe Cac­tus Na­tional Mon­u­ment. The bar­ri­ers were de­signed to stop ve­hi­cles from driv­ing around a check­point in Lukeville or up through the desert wilder­ness. That three-year project had a price tag of $18 mil­lion.

More re­cently, Barnard Con­struc­tion Co. Inc. of Mon­tana was awarded $172 mil­lion for 14 miles of new fenc­ing in the Bor­der Pa­trol’s Yuma Sec­tor. Of­fi­cials say the to­tal value of that con­tract could reach $324 mil­lion for 32 miles.

New Mex­ico

More than a dozen miles of fence were built near Colum­bus in 2000, stretch­ing from the bor­der town to an onion farm and cat­tle ranch. A sur­vey done sev­eral years later de­ter­mined that a 1.5-mile sec­tion that was de­signed to keep cars from il­le­gally cross­ing into the U.S. was ac­ci­den­tally built on Mex­i­can soil.

The project was be­lieved to ini­tially cost about $500,000 a mile, while es­ti­mates to up­root and re­lo­cate the fenc­ing ranged from $2.5 mil­lion to $3.5 mil­lion.

In 2018, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment awarded a $73 mil­lion con­tract to the same Mon­tan­abased com­pany to rip out old ve­hi­cle bar­ri­ers and re­place them with a new bol­lard-style wall of tall metal slats and ex­ten­sive con­crete foot­ings along a 20-mile stretch near Santa Teresa. That project was fin­ished months ahead of sched­ule.


Con­gress ap­proved $641 mil­lion last spring for 33 miles of con­struc­tion in South Texas’ Rio Grande Val­ley, the busiest cor­ri­dor for il­le­gal bor­der cross­ings. Tar­geted ar­eas in­clude the non­profit Na­tional But­ter­fly Cen­ter, a state park and pri­vately owned ranches and farm­land.

In El Paso, con­struc­tion started last fall in the Chi­huahuita neigh­bor­hood — the bor­der city’s old­est neigh­bor­hood — to re­place 4 miles of chain­link fenc­ing with a steel bol­lard wall. The es­ti­mated cost: $22 mil­lion.

There has been fenc­ing for decades in cities such as El Paso and San Diego. Once it was built, in­creased crack­downs in those ar­eas led to a drop in ap­pre­hen­sions. But au­thor­i­ties have com­plained that as a re­sult of those ef­forts, il­le­gal cross­ings and traf­fick­ing ac­tiv­ity have been pushed to more re­mote stretches of the bor­der.


Ra­haf Mo­hammed Alqu­nun, right, ar­rives at Toronto Pear­son In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Satur­day wear­ing a U.N. High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees hat and ac­com­pa­nied by Saba Ab­bas of COSTI Im­mi­grant Ser­vices. The Saudi teen had fled her fam­ily while vis­it­ing Kuwait and flew to Bangkok, Thai­land, where she bar­ri­caded her­self in an air­port ho­tel and launched a Twit­ter cam­paign that drew global at­ten­tion. Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau an­nounced Fri­day she would be ac­cepted as a refugee.

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