Vietnam War surplus used for current border fencing

Saves money for taxpayers

Parts of fencing in Yuma from Vietnam...

YUMA,Ariz. - "If it works. We'll use it," says Border Patrol Agent Fidel Cabrera.

Cabrera is referring to the many ways his agents re-use items to save tax payer dollars. A big example of that is the landing mat that's used as part of the fencing now to secure the Yuma Sector.  

Agents re-used landing mats that were from surplus materials used in the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, landing mat was used to help helicopters land in rough terrain such as jungles.  

Border Patrol agents say that thanks to many agencies they were able to install the landing mat and use it as a part of our current infrastructure securing the border. This process is saving taxpayer dollars on part of the fencing installed during the Secure Fence Act in 2006.

"It was just military surplus, so obviously we try to be good stewards of the people's money," said Cabrera.

Currently, there are six different infrastructures used as fencing to secure our borders. Besides landing mat, agents say they use chain link fencing and even barricades. 

After the fencing was installed agents say the number of illegal entries went down.

"In 2005 we were the busiest before this was 14 to 16 foot high we actually had 138,000 apprehensions. In this year alone we have 14,000. Not only is infrastructure important but we utilize that with technology and man power," said Yuma Sector Border Patrol Agent Justin Kallinger.

Lower apprehensions is a reason some would agree with putting up a wall in order to assist Border Patrol Agents and keep the border secure. But naysayers ask, do we need a wall in the Yuma sector if the fencing is sufficient? Agent Cabrera weighs in on the condition of the landing mat part of Yuma's fencing.

"As far as how much life is left in it, we'll have to see obviously because parts of the fence are leaning a little bit or whatever. But it's still very useful but eventually, we will have to replace it. How long? That I'm not sure," said Cabrera.

While President Trump continues to work on fulfilling his campaign promise of building a wall his opponents say the Yuma Sector is doing just fine on its own. That's because the numbers show what we do have for border fencing has reduced illegal entries drastically.

For now, it's in the air if the bill that would fund a border wall will pass. If it doesn't it's possible we could face a government shutdown.

“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” President Trump said at a rally in Phoenix this month.

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