Although approval is still pending on the billions of dollars President Donald Trump needs to build a full border wall along the United States’ southern border with Mexico, work on a 15-mile section of “the wall” officially began on Friday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says they’re beginning improvements on a section of the border wall near San Diego, partly in preparation for the existing wall to connect with whatever new wall the Trump Administration has planned, Fox News reports.
The current San Diego border wall was built in the 1990s with material left over from the 1960s and ’70s, including Vietnam War-era “recycled scraps of metal and old landing mat steel plates,” the Customs and Border Patrol told Fox. Since the “cross-border threat has increased,” the wall will get an update over the next several months.
The new wall will be a “bollard-style wall” that is twice as high as the existing wall. CBP is also installing what they call an “anti-climbing plate.”
“The construction of this new substantial wall will improve overall border security, the safety and effectiveness of Border Patrol agents, the safety of the public, and will enhance the atmosphere for business and commerce in the area,” the Border Patrol said of the project.
Until the Trump Administration secures all the funding necessary to build the full wall, CBP is making improvements on existing structures. The current plan includes updates to not just the San Diego stretch of border wall, but a stretch further west in Calexico, California, and 20 miles of fence in New Mexico.
Despite a limited budget, the Trump Administration is moving ahead with preparations for the larger border wall. The U.S. government selected a slate of contractors to compete for the wall earlier this year, and those contractors have “border wall samples” going up right now in the California desert. A decision on which contractor will be charged with building the border wall is expected in September.