Today, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that three contracts have been awarded for the construction of approximately 65 miles of new border wall system within the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) of the US Border Patrol System (USBP).
Located in Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron counties along the US-Mexico border, the project will be completed in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and will include an 18-30 foot steel wall in conjunction with other technology enhancements and enforcement capabilities.
According to the official press release by CBP, the new construction is intended to “improve the RGV Sector’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations.”
Construction will be completed in accordance with President Trump’s issuance of Executive Order 13767 – Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements – implemented in 2017.
Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron counties will see 19 new additions added to the border wall system in disjointed segments that are then connected to other new border wall segments.
Altogether, the three contracts will cost a combined base contract amount of $385,705,092 and a combined total contract value, including options, of $812,604,005 across the three Texas counties located in the RGV Sector.
To date, the Rio Grande Valley Sector is classified by CBP as the busiest USBP Sector in the nation, accounting for approximately 40 percent of border apprehensions and ranking first among cocaine and marijuana seizures.
“The majority of its activity is occurring in areas where RGV has limited infrastructure, access and mobility, and technology,” CBP reports.
Stretching over 17,000 square miles and encompassing 19 counties, the RGV Sector maintains nine stations, two checkpoints, and patrols more than 320 miles of river in addition to 250 miles of Texas coast.
Today’s announcement comes less than a week after the Senate voted for the second time to block President Trump’s emergency declaration to build a border wall, in a 54-41 decision that included 11 Republicans.
Construction on the new border wall system is expected to begin in 2020 in areas where no barriers are currently present.
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Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.