Nick Miroff @NickMiroff Washington Post reporter covering immigration enforcement, border security and @DHSgov. Tip? nick.miroff(at) Nov. 02, 2019 1 min read

SCOOP smugglers have been sawing through brand-new sections of Trump’s border wall using cordless power tools, cutting through the bollards to create gaps wide enough for people and drug loads to pass through 

The govt has not acknowledged the damage, and it’s unclear how often the breaches have occurred. But border patrols agents say the smuggling crews are using reciprocating saws ("recip saws") with relatively inexpensive diamond-grit blades made for cutting steel and concrete.

Once a cut is made, the bollards’ extraordinary length actually makes them less rigid & easier to displace. The smugglers have figured out a way to return cut bollards to their original position and disguise the damage, hoping it wont be detected, so they can return later.

When a breach is reported, CBP sends welders to make repairs, but agents say the smugglers will return and cut the bollard again at the weld, because it’s softer and the concrete core has already been severed.

CBP officials who acknowledged the breaches say the new barriers remain far superior to previous designs, and the amount of time needed to cut through gives agents more time to respond. They have always insisted the structure would not be "impenetrable"

In other locations, climbing teams are using improvised ladders made from rebar, then suspending rope ladders off the anti-climb panels to descend. The ladders are thin enough to pass between the bollards, so they can be used on the primary and secondary barriers.

Not much surprise among border veterans. Smuggling organizations have major financial incentives to get through the barrier as well as the technical savvy to innovate new breaching methods, they note. As former USBP chief Ron Vitiello put it: "That's life on the border."

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