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Federal Government Sends Miles of Concertina Wire to Border

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WESLACO – In addition to the troops heading to the border, the government has also sent miles of razor wire.

The Commander of the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, Terrence John O'Shauhnessy, spoke about the addition during a press conference on Monday.

"We have enough concertina wire to cover up to 22 miles already deployed, already to the border. We have additional concertina wire that we can string with over 150 miles available,” says O'Shauhnessy.

From residential to law enforcement property, when protecting perimeters, many often choose between two popular choices: barbed wire and concertina wire.

When you look closely, you can spot concertina wire just about anywhere – even at the CHANNEL 5 NEWS station.

The reason for the wire's name is because it easily expands as a concertina, that's like an accordion.

It can also be layered to the height of an adult.

It's vastly different from barbed wire.

"Climb over it, you can sometimes crawl under it if you're small enough. If it catches your clothes it can rip it open,” explains Commander Robert Caples, Starr County Special Crimes Unit.

Commander Caples, who served in the U.S. Marines, says those knots in barbed wire can poke and prod; concertina is designed to do more damage.

"What you're talking about is concertina wire also known as razor wire. And those would just look like this," he says.

Miles of concertina wire is ready along the southern border.

Over 150 miles could be used by the federal government trying to deter illegal immigration as the caravan in Mexico makes its way north.

They could be using military grade, which has more teeth tightly packed onto larger coils.

Razor blade fencing is used commercially by civilians.

Even though the spaces are wide compared to military grade concertina wire, it's enough to have caused an escapee from the HIDTA Starr County Office severe physical trauma.

Caples recalls helping with that case.

"It was not our case, and I didn't witness it happen. But, I do know one of the witnesses that gave us, that was trying to give us the current location of the subject told us that the guy was cut open pretty bad. He was bleeding profusely. That was just jumping over the fence,” he says.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will determine where that wire will be placed, whether on the ground or on barricades.

Caples considers the decision to use this sharp wiring from both sides.

"I don't know. I'm kind of conflicted, because, yes this can really hurt somebody. And I think maybe they should warn people that the wire is there. But as far as this doing the job, this can do the job," Caples asserts.

Wildlife could also be exposed to the wire depending where and how its placed – a decision that's yet to be made public by the government.

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