Saudi teen reaches Canada
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.
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.