Smugglers have snuck through Donald Trump's 'impenetrable' border wall thousands of times

Smugglers have snuck through Donald Trump's 'impenetrable' border wall thousands of times
President Donald J. Trump signs a plaque Tuesday, June 23, 2020, commemorating the 200th mile of new border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma, Ariz. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Hardly anything that Donald Trump claimed about his "big, beautiful" wall on the southern U.S. border with Mexico came to fruition. The candidate said he would compel Mexico to pay for it. They didn't. Citing his supposed expertise as a builder, Trump claimed the wall would be erected within months of his inauguration. It wasn't. He also declared it would be impenetrable. It isn't.

This article was authored by Tim Evans.

In fact, according to records obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, Mexican smuggling gangs have sawed through and breached segments of Trump's wall 3,272 times in the past three years. The previously undisclosed maintenance records the newspaper obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol show that the federal government has spent $2.6 million repairing breaches to the wall between 2019 and 2021.

It appears that smugglers pop into their local hardware store and purchase relatively inexpensive battery-powered angle grinders and demolition saws and then, under cover of darkness, cut through the base of the 18- to 30-foot tall steel bollards. Once severed, the steel beams easily can be pushed aside to create a gap wide enough for people to pass through.

How porous are the 458 miles of wall that Trump, who once likened it to a Rolls Royce, spent $11 billion of U.S. taxpayer money to build? The Post reports that it recently observed 71 steel bollards with visible repairs just along one 25-mile stretch between Naco and Douglas, Ariz. Some of them were labeled in white paint with the word "breach."

The Post also reports that the black paint that Trump insisted on coating the steel structure in - on the theory that it would make it hotter to the touch in the desert sun and scald the hands of would-be climbers - already is peeling away less than 18 months after it was applied.


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