New Acting DHS Secretary Discusses Plans for More Barrier
DONNA - New acting head of homeland security visited the Rio Grande Valley during his first week on the job.
Chad Wolf let us in on plans to build more than a hundred of miles of new barrier here.
Many are looking to this fence as a multi-layered deterrent to illegal immigration.
"Combines a physical barrier with tactical lighting, fiber-optic technology, and real-time surveillance," says Chad Wolf.
Top border officials are considering the lessons of the recent immigration surge.
Border patrol is expecting this kind of construction allows them to refocus their resources.
"Last year when we were dedicating 60% of our workforce to the humanitarian crisis, that took very valuable resources away from the line and presented tremendous security gaps for us. So, now that we're able to return more people to the border, this is helping us," says Chief Rodolfo Karish, Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol.
According to their statistics, they've experiencing more drug seizures like 50-percent more cocaine confiscated in fiscal year 2019 than the previous one.
The DHS acting head says this is just a fraction of the 110 miles they want to build in the Valley and up to 500 miles nationwide by the end of next year.
"I will say that we continue to push that. I understand the skepticism. I've talked with General Semanite from Army Corps of Engineers and he's confident with his team that we can acquire the land and we can complete construction," says Wolf.
Legal challenges for land acquisition could delay their timing.