With President Donald Trump moving ahead to build a mammoth wall, the spotlight is on the U.S.-Mexican border. And there’s a lot that most people don’t know about it.
1. THE CURRENT WALL
There already is a wall along about a third of the border
The border runs about 1,900 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. Some sort of barrier—made from concrete, steel mesh and/or barbed wire —currently stands along about a third of it, in areas U.S. Customs and Border Protection deems vulnerable to illicit cross-border activity. Some segments are a solid metal wall; others are composed of various materials and have spaces between barriers or mesh, making those sections less a wall than a fence. Types include:
• Primary fencing, typically 18 feet high with steel bollards or pickets to impede pedestrians and vehicles.
• Secondary fencing, typically 15 feet high and constructed with horizontal rails in the form of steel tubes and fence fabric that is either mesh or perforated metal sheeting.
Along the existing wall or fence, 36 miles have double fencing with both primary and secondary barriers, and 14 miles have three layers of fencing, according to Customs and Border Protection. The San Diego area is one of the most fortified, with 46 miles of primary fencing and 14 miles of secondary fencing—and enough room to accommodate the road that runs between them. In addition, the federal government patrols some border areas by using drones, ground sensors, cameras and thousands of agents on the ground.
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