Smugglers are helping migrants scale sections of Donald Trump’s multi-billion border fence using $5 ladders, according to The El Paso Times.
The newspaper reports that the US Border Patrol has seen a rise in camouflage “hook-and-ladders” within the far south-west region of Texas since May last year.
Smugglers in Juárez have engineered the ladders out of rebar to match the rust-brown mesh panels or steel beams of the border fence, according to U.S. Border Patrol.
“El Paso’s urban stretch of border is littered with the rusted rebar ladders at the base on both sides — ladders lying in wait on the Mexican side, ladders pulled down by border agents or abandoned by smugglers on the U.S. side,” The El Paso Times reports. “One of the rebar ladders was poking out of a dumpster in a lot near the Chihuahuita neighborhood on Thursday. ”
“Somebody is making money off those ladders,” said Agent Joe Romero, pointing to a mangled version tossed in the dirt on the U.S. side. “The agents pulled it off the wall and cut it up so it can’t be used again.”
The Times adds:
The ladders appear to be made with two poles of 3/8-inch rebar and four thinner poles, outfitted with steps and bent over at the end in a U, to hook on the top of the wall. It’s the sort of cubed rebar support structure used in construction in Mexico, called castillo.
Six meters of castillo costs 99 pesos, or about $5.30, at the Hágalo — or Do It Yourself — True Value hardware store in Juárez. There is no indication that smugglers are shopping at that store in particular.
Romero said the rebar ladders started turning up in large numbers in the El Paso sector last year in May, around the time that construction of the most recent replacement wall finished downtown. They’ve been a go-to method for scaling the fence in the urban footprint since.
Trump has repeatedly boasted to crowds about the new border barrier sections, calling them “virtually impenetrable” and likening the structure to a “Rolls-Royce” that border-crossers cannot get over, under or through.
In December, a viral video clip posted to Twitter showed three men using a ladder to scale President Trump’s newly developed border wall between Mexico and the U.S.
The 38-second clip, shows one man holding the ladder while the other two climb.
One of the men slides down the railing of the wall onto the U.S. side before running to scale another barrier.
In the background, a person yells in Spanish “Hurry, hurry, jump the fence,” the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported.
— J. Omar Ornelas (@fotornelas) December 4, 2019