People are climbing over Trump’s border wall with $5 ladders, report says

‘Unlike the wall, these ladders are functional,’ a Texas activist tells Texas Monthly

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Wednesday 21 April 2021 20:44 BST
Donald Trump claims border crisis could ‘destroy America’

Portions of the US-Mexico border wall created under the Trump administration have been compromised by migrants using $5 ladders to climb over the structure, according to a new report in Texas Monthly.

The United States Border Patrol reportedly often finds discarded ladders left alongside the wall when patrolling the area.

Ladders have become so prevalent in climbing the structure that the Border Patrol relies on the city of Hidalgo, Texas, to haul away and destroy the lumber that was used to produce them.

While rope-and-VPS ladders are used to cross the border wall in popular areas upriver, wooden ladders have become a go-to method of crossing for migrants along the Granjeno-to-Hidalgo stretch of border, the publication reported.

There are multiple wall sections along this stretch of the US-Mexico border, including a 1.3-mile piece constructed under the Trump administration that meets up with a 1.75-mile piece that was authorised under the Bush administration.

In this area, the wall cost taxpayers about $27m per mile to build, but it was capable of being foiled by $5 ladders purchased by migrants attempting to cross into the US.

Scott Nicol, a local artist and activist, told Texas Monthly that the ladders used by undocumented immigrants proved how the border wall, which President Donald Trump boasted about as part of his nativist appeal to Republican voters, was useless in its intended function.

"Unlike the wall, these ladders are functional," Mr Nicol said, adding that "border walls are just backdrops for politicians who want to rile up their voters."

Chris Cabrera, a McAllen-based Border Patrol agent and local spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council, claimed the border wall still served its purpose because it gave officials time to react to those attempting to cross.

"Nine times out of 10 we're going to catch them," Mr Cabrera said about those who use the ladders to climb the wall.

Similar reports of undocumented immigrants using ladders to scale the wall surfaced last year.

Smugglers in Juárez, Mexico, engineered camouflage hook-and-ladders made of rebar that would blend in with the materials used in the border wall, according to a February 2020 El Paso Times report.

The ladders were made with the same rust brown color as the fencing, allowing them to blend in with the structure and avoid detection by Border Patrol agents. They first popped up in the El Paso region of the border wall in 2019, according to the Border Patrol.

Reports of migrants using ladders to climb the border wall come amid a fierce debate in the United States about immigration reform.

In recent months, there has been an influx of migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border, which has led to overcrowded facilities of undocumented immigrants and increased scrutiny of the Biden administration’s response.

President Joe Biden vowed to not build "another foot" of Mr Trump's border wall. Mr Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office that ended the national emergency at the border and launched a 60-day review of the project.

But more than one month after the 60-day review, the Biden administration has yet to unveil what might happen to the border wall as the number of migrants at the border increases.

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