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Parts of border wall to begin construction
Sections of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico will reportedly begin construction in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday.
Customs and Border Protection announced Friday that a section of chain link and metal fence stretching four miles long will soon be replaced with an 18-foot-tall steel bollard wall.
"We need effective barriers to deny the entry of illegal aliens and contraband," said Aaron A. Hull, the chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol's El Paso Sector, according to a local ABC affiliate.
Hull said "a balance of physical infrastructure, technology and personnel is key to securing the border and keeping our communities safe."
"El Paso Sector continues to experience a high number of apprehensions of illegal aliens and drug smuggling," the agency said in a news release. "In fiscal year 2017, El Paso Sector apprehended 25,193 illegal aliens, seized 34,189 pounds of marijuana and 140 pounds of cocaine. Additionally during that fiscal year, there were 54 assaults against El Paso Sector agents."
The agency said it contracted West Point Contractors of Tucson, Ariz., on June 1 to build the barrier.
According to the news release, the construction project is expected to be completed in late April 2019. The estimated cost for the project is $22 million.
The announcement comes a day after President Trump lashed out at Congress over the lack of funding for his border wall in a recently passed spending bill.
"I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?" Trump tweeted at the time. "Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!"