(NEXSTAR) – Sections of former President Trump’s border wall between the U.S. and Mexico continue to cost the government millions in maintenance to fix sections breached by smugglers.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection records obtained by the Washington Post show that suspected smuggling gangs managed to hack through the heavy steel bollards making up the fence 3,272 times between 2019 and 2021.
The cost to repair the 30-foot-tall beams added up to $2.6 million over that period, the CBP records show.
A keystone of his campaign and a mantra at his rallies, Trump promised an impenetrable barrier along the border, but reports soon surfaced of smugglers using common construction equipment to saw through the bollards.
In March of 2021, an entire section of border fence was cut away to allow two SUVs driven by apparent smugglers to enter the U.S. One of the vehicles, a Ford Expedition carrying 25 people, was hit by a tractor-trailer in what immigration officials called one of the deadliest highway crashes involving migrants sneaking into the U.S.
After three months of increases in migrant encounters along the U.S.-Mexico border at the end of 2021, there were 154,000 in January – a 15% drop – according to court records in a suit by the state of Texas against the Biden administration.
President Biden called for immigration reform in his State of the Union address Tuesday, receiving support from some GOP lawmakers.
“He did say in his references to immigration reform, he said, secure the border. Those are words we thought we’d never hear from a Democratic president again,” Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer said on “Morning in America.” “I’ve often thought that we could be close to getting something on immigration if you know if everybody would listen to each other and find a balancing point.”