A section of the border wall in southern California was blown over by high winds on Wednesday, causing the structure to fall into Mexico, CNN reported.
Mexican officials were forced to divert traffic from the area.
In an email Thursday, Ralph DeSio, a Customs and Border Protection official, said high winds “impacted a handful of panels,” adding that there were no injuries or property damage.
DeSio said that the 30-foot high wall tipped into Mexico while the concrete holding the wall in place was still drying, confirming CNN’s report. DeSio called the incident “an uncommon event,” noting winds reached speeds well over 30 miles per hour on Wednesday.
DeSio also confirmed that the construction company SLSCO Ltd was under contract for that particular section of the border wall.
In a June 2019 press release, CPB said SLSCO had been awarded an $88 million contract to replace an 11-mile section of dilapidated border wall in Calexico. According to a 2019 Forbes report, SLSCO has received contracts for border wall projects totaling almost half a billion dollars since Trump took office.
A Texas-based company, SLSCO was founded by three brothers, John, Billy, and Todd Sullivan. According to MarketWatch, the brothers donated a total of $68,000 to Republican groups or candidates in the 2018 election cycle. The only donation to a Democrat came from Johnny, who gave $2,700 to Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.
In an email, SLSCO did not provide any comment about the Calexico incident, instead referring all media inquiries to CBP.
In addition to Calexico, Forbes reported that SLSCO’s other border wall projects include several controversial stretches along the Texas-Mexico border.
In one spot, the SLSCO’s construction will reportedly run straight through the National Butterfly Center, a private nature preserve. The center’s executive director, Marianna Wright, told Forbes that “big monarchs can soar over the wall to fulfill their migration instincts” but “some species like the endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly … prefer to flit closer to the ground and will not be able to get over the wall.”
The Catholic Church in Hidalgo County is also upset that the border wall will cut off access to La Lomita Chapel, a small historic structure dating back to 1865 when it was built by French missionaries.
Building a border wall was one of Trump’s signature campaign promises during the 2016 election. At the time, he promised Mexico would pay for it. But when the Mexican government refused to do so, and Congress refused to provide $5 billion in taxpayer funds to do so, Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border.
He then reallocated $3.6 billion meant for the military, such as school buildings for children of active service members, to fund additional sections of the wall.
According to CBP, the Calexico border wall that was blown over was funded using 2018 appropriations, not funding from Trump’s emergency declaration.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.