PHOENIX (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded contracts totaling nearly $1 billion to replace short barriers with tall fences along two sections of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Corps of Engineers said in a statement on Wednesday that 46 miles of fencing will be installed near Columbus, New Mexico, and 11 miles near Yuma, Arizona.
The fencing in New Mexico will be installed by SLSCo. of Galveston, Texas, which got a $789 million contract. The other work will be done by Barnard Construction Co. Inc., of Bozeman, Montana, which received a $187 million contract.
In New Mexico, the contractors will remove waist-length fencing, known as vehicle barriers, and replace it with tall fencing that will go up to 30-feet high in New Mexico. The new fencing is similar to what’s already in place along much of the border.
The Corps said the fencing will help “impede and deny illegal border crossings and smuggling of drugs and humans.”
The Department of Homeland Security has not responded to an inquiry for comment.
Some say the work could harm wildlife. Laiken Jordahl, borderlands campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the additional fencing will sever a known corridor used by various species.
“It’s hard to explain just how much the wall impacts the entire ecosystem,” Jordahl said.