Things That Matter

The Border Wall Prototypes Are Up In San Diego. Here’s What That Means

One of President Trump’s central campaign promises was to build a new, reinforced wall along the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico. One year after the presidential election, there are border wall prototypes erected in San Diego. The mini walls were submitted and constructed by companies hoping to win the contract with the U.S. government to construct the full or sections of the border wall. Ron Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), praised the prototypes during a press conference as being essential to the overall goal of Border Patrol stating.

“Border security relies on a combination of border infrastructure, technology, and personnel,” he said during the press conference.

There are eight border wall prototypes standing along the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego. They are the first physical indicators of President Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall along the southern border.

According to Vitiello, the prototypes are 30 feet high and about 18 feet wide. Contractors were given $300,000 to $500,000 to complete their prototypes.

“Border walls have proven to be to be an extremely effective part of our multi-pronged security strategy to prevent the illegal flow of people and drugs over many years,” he said at the press conference. “Specifically, walls are part of a border enforcement zone which includes roads, lights and surveillance technology.”

The choice to build the prototypes in San Diego was not random.

According to Vitiello’s speech, San Diego is the most active area for border crossings. He told the press that in 2016, Border Patrol detained 31,000 people crossing the border, 9,200 pounds of marijuana and more than 1,300 pounds of cocaine.

Immigration activists are concerned about the wall and its potential to create a more dangerous journey for those heading north.

Border Angels is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that works for immigrant and human rights. Founder Enrique Morones says the border wall that is currently in place has led to the deaths of 11,000 people since 1994. However, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol places the number of deaths between 1998 and 2016 at 6,915.

Now that the walls are built, CBP will start testing the structures.

Vitiello said no testing will occur for 30 days as they wait for concrete to set. Testing will take between 30 and 60 days. Vitiello wasn’t specific about how the walls will be tested and further requests for clarification from CBP went unanswered. According to the CBP website, the walls will be tested to make sure they cannot be breached, climbed or dug under while remaining safe for Border Patrol and denying unchecked access across the border.

Stay tuned as mitú continues to cover this story as it develops.


READ: MSNBC Was Reporting On the Border Wall Prototypes In San Diego When They Caught Migrants Crossing The Border

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

As recently as last month more than 5,000 children languished in jail-like conditions inside U.S. Border Patrol facilities, often for longer than the 72-hour limit set by federal law. But, according to the Biden administration, that number has dropped by 84% as the agencies charged with migrant detention make significant progress.

Questions remain, however, about where these children are being sent to instead and why there remains a need for jail-like conditions in the first place.

The number of kids in jail-like Border Patrol facilities drops 84% compared to March.

The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in jail-like conditions by US Customs and Border Protection dropped nearly 84% in the span of a month, according to a White House official. As of last Wednesday, there were 954 children in CBP facilities, down from a peak of 5,767 on March 28, the official told CNN.

The average time that kids are in CBP custody is now 28 hours, compared to 133 hours on March 28, the official said, a nearly 80% reduction in time spent in Border Patrol detention.

In an interview with NBC News this week, Biden suggested that the situation with unaccompanied children is now under control, saying, “It’s way down now. We’ve now gotten control,” and touted “significant change in the circumstances for children to and at the border.”

In recent weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the care of migrant children, has opened up a string of temporary shelters to accommodate minors. That’s allowed for an increasing number of children being transferred out of border facilities to spaces equipped to care for them at a quicker pace.

The drop in children in custody is a welcome sign given the conditions they faced.

In some cases, children were alternating schedules to make space for one another in confined facilities and taking turns showering, often going days without one, while others hadn’t seen the sunlight in days.

While the administration works to address root causes of migration, it’s also had to contend with growing numbers of children in government custody. As of April 27, there were more than 22,276 children in HHS care, according to government data.

Biden on NBC again warned Central American parents against sending children to the US.”Do not send your kids, period. They’re most — they’re in jeopardy going– making that thousand-mile trek,” Biden said. “And so what we’re doing now is we’re going back to those countries in question where most of it’s coming from and saying, ‘Look, you can apply from your country. You don’t have to make this trek.”

The shift in strategy comes as a new poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support new immigration policy.

A vast majority of Americans approve of the idea of engaging countries abroad to address the causes of migration before it happens, according to a new nationwide poll released Thursday.

Pollster Civiqs found that 85 percent of survey respondents agreed that the United States needs to engage with other countries to address migration patterns.

On a partisan basis, 86 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans, as well as 81 percent of independents, agree with that approach, according to Civiqs, which conducted the poll for Immigration Hub, a progressive immigration advocacy group.

The poll found that 57 percent of Americans accept illegal immigration when the immigrants are fleeing violence in their home countries.

That support is lower for undocumented immigrants who come for other reasons; 46 percent agree with immigrants arriving illegally to escape poverty or hunger, while 36 percent do if the migrants are seeking to reunite with family members, and 31 percent do if the migrants are looking for jobs in the United States.

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.

Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.

Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.

Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.

Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.

Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.

After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.

Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.

President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.

“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”

The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

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