U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a new contract last Friday for a 14-mile border wall to be constructed within the U.S. Border Patrol’s (USBP) Laredo Sector in Webb County.
The total cost of the contract is $275,454,100 and is funded by the CBP’s appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, not funds redirected from the Department of Defense (DOD).
Caddell Construction Company received the contract and is expected to begin construction on the project in January of next year, “pending availability of real estate,” according to a CBP press release.
CBP says that the project “will include a 30-foot tall steel bollard wall, all-weather roads, lighting, enforcement cameras[,] and other related technology to create a complete enforcement zone.”
By law, the federal government can seize privately owned land if the landowners are justly compensated for their property and it is used for public benefit.
Some such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have argued that the national security purposes of building a wall justify the use of eminent domain, while others such as Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23) have emphasized that private property rights should be prioritized.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) released a statement opposing the new contract.
“As the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to build a spending bill for 2021 that has strong border security, including additional personnel, equipment, new technology, and no funding for a wall,” said Cuellar.
He continued, “I am committed to ensure further historical and cultural landmarks in our community are protected from this wasteful border wall, such as Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge and within one mile of historic sites along the Los Caminos del Río Heritage Corridor, and facilities like the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Laredo.”
Sacred Heart Children’s Home, an orphanage in Laredo, is reportedly being sued by the federal government for access to the land to conduct surveys related to the border wall construction.
CBP says that the Laredo Sector has seen “high illegal activity, with over 21,000 illegal alien apprehensions and over 19,000 pounds of drugs seized this FY to date.”
“The majority of its activity is occurring in areas where [the] Laredo Sector lacks infrastructure, access and mobility, and technology,” they stated. “These projects will improve Laredo Sector’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations.”
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.