SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced plans to extend the border wall and have it cut across the Tijuana River where the river enters the U.S. in San Diego.
The Tijuana River flows from south to north and crosses from Mexico into the U.S. right next to the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Usually, the river has more debris and old tires in it than it has water. But there is no barrier between the two countries here.
This is the location where, on the morning of Nov. 25, 2018, hundreds of mostly Central Americans who were part of a migrant caravan rushed the U.S. side of the border. U.S. Border Patrol officials say some of the people in the group threw rocks at agents, prompting agents to deploy CS gas, a riot control agent.
An iconic photograph of a mother running from tear gas canisters while holding on to her young twin daughters immortalized the incident.
The proposed wall would stretch approximately 0.2 miles across the Tijuana River. The new wall would connect existing walls that end at the east and west banks of the river. The project includes a bridge, a vertical lift gate to allow the water to flow below, lighting, a 20-foot-wide roadway and a maintenance walkway.
The wall would be supported by a series of 30-foot-tall bollards or steel planks anchored on the riverbed.
Just down stream, a berm at least 4 feet tall will also be constructed for debris control.
According to Border Patrol, the project is covered by a waiver of environmental laws by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
“Right now in this channel there is no physical barrier preventing people from making those illegal entries,” Border Patrol spokesman Agent Justin Castrejon said.
Some aren’t sure the project will work due to the area and the river’s potential currents during major storms.
“That’s a tremendous amount of water flowing through that river,” said Paloma Aguirre, an Imperial Beach councilwoman and area environmentalist. “Nothing can stop the flow that is that strong. There’s huge concerns if you impede the flow, the hydrological flow. There’s going to be stagnant water, there will be mosquitos, there are a number of species that carry deadly diseases the quality of life will diminish in the area.”
According to Castrejon, they welcome comments like the ones made by Aguirre. CBP is seeking information and data on potential impacts to the environment, culture, quality of life, and commerce.
“All comments will be considered, and we will document what we get,” said Castrejon.
People are encouraged to email their ideas and comments for the project at firstname.lastname@example.org, they will be accepted through September 24.