Testing begins for new border wall in South Texas
We have new information on exactly where federal officials plan to put a portion of the border wall. Our Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila just returned from the Rio Grande Valley where initial testing is underway.
Customs and Border Protection along with the Army Corps of Engineers is planning the first segment of the border wall in Hidalgo County. On Monday, we watched as a crew drilled down to test the soil on a levee not far from the Rio Grande, to make sure that the ground can support a wall on top of it.
The Border Patrol gave Avila an up-close look at the border near the town of Mission. There are already long sections of concrete wall and metal fencing that have stood in the area for years. What they'll be doing now is filling in the gaps with new sections of wall.
They want to build the new segments North of the Rio Grande, which means they'll have to cut through some private property and parkland. The levee where they're doing the soil testing runs alongside a state park popular with bird watchers.
It also cuts through the National Butterfly Center, a treasure for visiting naturalists.
“It's just really going to cut off the biodiversity that we see here i think because of this human structure," said visitor Wendi Williams.
Customs and Border Protection says it will install automated gates in the wall so visitors will still have access to these areas.
But they say a continuous wall is necessary here, along with more cameras and security technology, to stem the flow of immigrants coming illegally through the Rio Grande Valley. They apprehended 41,000 in just the last two months.
The sections being built in Hidalgo County have already been funded by Congress. Building starts on them in February, regardless of whether Congress approves money for completion of the remainder of the wall.