Mexican smuggling gangs have sawed through segments of the border wall 3,272 times over the past three years, according to unpublished U.S. Customs and Border Protection maintenance records obtained by the Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act. The government spent $2.6 million to repair breaches during the 2019 to 2021 fiscal years, the records show. While the agency has acknowledged that smugglers are able to hack through the barriers built by the Trump administration, maintenance records show damage has been widespread, pointing to the structure’s limitations as an impediment to illegal crossings.
Smuggling gangs cut the barrier with inexpensive power tools widely available at retail hardware stores, including angle grinders and demolition saws. Once the 18-to-30-foot-tall bollards are severed near the ground, their only remaining point of attachment is at the top of the structure, leaving the steel beam dangling in the air. It easily swings open creating a gap wide enough for people and narcotics to pass through. A CBP spokesman said, "No structure is impenetrable, so we will continue to work to focus resources on modern, effective border management measures to improve safety and security.” President Trump built 458 miles of new barriers, primarily in remote areas of New Mexico and Arizona. Trump planned 250 additional miles, but President Biden halted construction and asked Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding.