Smugglers using reciprocating saws, which cost about $100 at a hardware store, have been cutting through the new walls that President Trump has ordered be built. The Washington Post reported that the saws are used to cut through the steel and concrete parts of the wall. This creates an opening wide enough for drugs and people to get through and cross into the United States.
The Post reported that agents told them that the saws could cut through the bollards in just a few minutes. This allows the smugglers to push the bollards that are 18 to 30 feet tall, out of the way allowing the smugglers to get through.
President Trump told reporters at the White House, “We have a very powerful wall, but no matter how powerful, you can cut through anything, in all fairness. But we have a lot of people watching. Cutting is one thing, but it’s easily fixed. One of the reasons we did it the way we did. It’s very easily fixed. You put the chunk back in. But we have a very powerful wall. But you can cut through any wall,” the president concluded.
Once an area has been cut and is discovered, a welding crew is sent to repair the opening, according to one agent.
The smugglers have also discovered a way to attempt to hide a breach in the barrier. They return the cut in the bollard to its original position. They use a putty that looks like the hole has already been repaired. This then allows the smugglers to use the opening repeatedly.
Agents reported that even after they repair the damage, the smugglers still return to the same spot. This is because the metal and the concrete at the core of the bollards have been weakened. The Post also said that some of the damage had taken place in areas where electronic sensors that detect sawing vibrations have not yet been installed.
Smugglers have also been deploying makeshift ladders. They climb up and over the barriers in the area of San Diego. Then they use hooks to hang rope ladders on the other side of the wall.
One senior administration official told the newspaper that the number of breaches amounts to “a few instances.”
Building the wall was one of President Trump’s major campaign promises. Initially, he said that Mexico would pay for it. However, US taxpayers have paid for what has been constructed to date. Last September, Trump visited the site in San Diego and said it is “virtually impenetrable.”