Lack of infrastructure continually exploited for illegal immigration

Construction on replacement pedestrian fencing in the Lukeville area is in a 2018 contract project.

Contributed Article/Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection

LUKEVILLE – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Ajo Station, detained 103 illegal aliens from Central America, Monday morning, after they illegally entered the United States and surrendered west of Lukeville.

Agents operating mobile surveillance technology first spotted the group in the early morning hours as they walked through the anti-vehicle post-and-rail fence that delineates the U.S./Mexico border.

The group, composed of 81 Guatemalans, and 22 Hondurans, included 59 minors. Along with the family units, eight unaccompanied children were also found as part of the group that ranged in age from 1 to 56 years old.

The area where the group was arrested parallels Mexico’s Federal Highway 2, and is located less than 50 yards from the U.S./Mexico Border. In the last few months, Border Patrol agents have seen an alarming surge of large family groups crossing the border illegally at the direction of human smugglers.    

Transnational criminal organizations exploit the vulnerability of family groups with false promises of legal status and encourage dangerous border crossings, placing lives at risk.

In November 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, listed a $324 million contract to construct up to 32 miles of Primary Pedestrian Replacement Wall in Arizona, with five miles in Lukeville and 27 miles in Yuma. 

The project was funded with CBP’s Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations.  The contract for this project was awarded Nov. 13, to Barnard Construction Company, Inc. for the base contract of $172 million for approximately 14 miles in Yuma Sector. The total contract value, including options, is approximately $324 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in April 2019.

The primary pedestrian replacement wall in Arizona will improve each sector’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Individuals can report suspicious activity to Border Patrol by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous. 

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