Construction on President Donald Trump’s main campaign promise finally started this week: the “big, beautiful” border wall.
At 20 miles long, the segment being built at the Santa Teresa border entry point is a good start. But Trump has repeatedly said he wants the wall to cover 1,000 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
The new segment of wall will be 18 to 30 feet high — depending on the height of the terrain — and will include a 5-foot-high metal plate along the top, with several feet of concrete below the surface, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The project is estimated to cost $73.7 million and be completed in 390 days.
"This part of Santa Teresa station area of operations is our busiest area of illegal alien apprehensions, and it has been for several years. It's also a prime corridor for the smuggling of narcotics,” El Paso Sector Chief Aaron Hull said at the construction commencement.
The El Paso sector, which includes a 268-mile stretch of the southern border, saw 25,193 undocumented immigrant arrests and the seizure of 34,189 pounds of marijuana and 140 pounds of cocaine in 2017, according to the CBP.
Although construction has already started on Trump's pet project, it’s still being challenged in courts. Environmental groups had already sued in Santa Teresa, claiming that the Trump administration illegally waived environmental laws to build the segment there.
On Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity filed an appeal for the same reasons in San Diego. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra also appealed on Monday and argued the administration’s waivers amount to executive overreach.