A wall at the southern border of the United States was a defining campaign platform for former President Donald Trump in both of his runs for the White House. "Build the wall" and "Finish the wall" chants were ubiquitous at his infamous campaign rallies.
In his four years in office, the Trump administration endorsed a government shutdown to secure border wall funding, but only secured 80 miles of brand new wall.
The wall remains a major aspect of pro-Trump Republicans' immigration platforms. In a prospective legislative agenda released last month, Senator Rick Scott of Florida vowed that a Republican Congress would finish the wall and name it after Donald Trump. Just last week during President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, Republican Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia broke out into a "build the wall" chant as Biden spoke about border security.
Now, a new report from Nick Miroff of the Washington Post details how smugglers sawed through Trump's border wall more than 3 thousand times in just three years, resulting in over $2 million in repairs according to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) maintenance reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
SCOOP - Smugglers in Mexico have sawed through the border wall 3,272 times over the past three years, according to CBP maintenance records obtained by @washingtonpost via FOIA. The breaches to the bollard fencing cost $2.6M to repair https://t.co/VsQO8M8pDA
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) March 2, 2022
I’ll add some photos of repairs to the breaches. Along one span of new Trump barrier between Naco and Douglas, AZ, I counted 71 of these.
Here’s an example of a bollard with a “boot” pic.twitter.com/UzQVhJccAy
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) March 2, 2022
According to the report:
"Smuggling gangs typically cut the barrier with inexpensive power tools widely available at retail hardware stores, including angle grinders and demolition saws. Once the 18-to-30-foot-tall bollards are severed near the ground, their only remaining point of attachment is at the top of the structure, leaving the steel beam dangling in the air. It easily swings open with a push, creating a gap wide enough for people and narcotics to pass through."
Back in 2019, when reports first emerged that the wall was repeatedly being breached, then-President Donald Trump, "We have a very powerful wall, but no matter how powerful, you can cut through anything, in all fairness.” This is despite claiming just one night earlier, at a Mississippi campaign rally, that "You can cut through steel, but you can’t through the concrete, and then you can’t through the hardened rebar. We got it all.”
Critics of the wall have often warned that it wouldn't be an effective deterrent against illegal border crossings.
Social media users took this latest report as further confirmation of that.
At this point Trump’s border fence is one of the most expensive publicly funded conceptual art installations in America. Christo and Jeanne-Claude would blush. https://t.co/vLBZyqk419
— Paul Myers (@pulmyears) March 3, 2022
TFG's stupid wall is a massive failure and costing us millions to "repair". So stupid. https://t.co/K8sUQVZy71
— heather holeman (@hlholeman) March 2, 2022
Donald Trump built a $15 billion speed bump. https://t.co/YWXfnOi3ml
— Adam Isacson (@adam_wola) March 2, 2022
The “border wall” was/is a colossal waste of money… https://t.co/1CliKPyzV6
— Andy Wasklewicz (@calisurf) March 4, 2022
Sounds like all the cash poured into “securing the border” was wasted. Quelle surprise. https://t.co/9CMlKoNKDK
— Jort-Michel Connard 🐘 (@torriangray) March 3, 2022
Trump’s SINGULAR BIGGEST PROMISE was a colossal failure https://t.co/kIubLpdKAj
— Grudgie the Whale (@grudging1) March 3, 2022
They hadn't forgotten how heavily Trump had hyped the failed wall.
Remember how President Trump used to claim he was building the best ever border wall, one that no one could climb over or cut through?
From 2019-2021, smugglers sawed through the border wall THREE TIMES A DAY on average. And those are just the breaches we know about. https://t.co/wRwYllrowi
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) March 2, 2022
"It's having a tremendous impact. Wherever the wall is built, people aren't coming through. They can't get through.” --Trump, July 31, 2020 https://t.co/07j26JZnuz
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) March 2, 2022