Texas to install anti-climb barriers in El Paso, governor says

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Texas soldiers in El Paso are installing new rows of razor wire in a stretch of the Rio Grande where they took down the barrier last week.

Uniformed members of the Texas Army National Guard wearing hard hats walked along a recently mowed levee to set up thin metal fence posts on Tuesday. Some bent to tie new concertina wire to the posts as large wads of the old razor wire could be seen next to trash containers in the background.

Last week’s removal of the barrier Texas placed at the border to discourage illegal migration prompted concerns it would encourage new unauthorized crossings from Mexico. The area less than two years ago teemed with migrants seeking asylum and prompted the U.S. Border Patrol to set up a processing camp known as West Bridge.   

Migrant crossings began to move eastward as the Guard arrived in December 2022. In the months that followed, it set up concertina fencing and deployed more soldiers and military vehicles to the area.

In an email to Border Report, the Texas Military Department said it plans to reinstall the razor wire barrier.

“Wire was temporarily removed to allow the International Boundary and Water Commission access to mow and service the area,” the state agency said on Tuesday. “This mowing reduces vegetation and increases the ability to detect illegal activity.”

TMD said it increased the number of security personnel patrolling the area while the concertina wire was down. It plans to reinstall any additional wire that is taken down for Rio Grande levee maintenance or any other contingency.

The state agency did not address questions from Border Report regarding a July 2 tweet by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stating the Guard is constructing new fence-like barriers that will be placed along the border in El Paso. In an earlier tweet, Abbott said the state plans to set up new anti-climb barriers in El Paso.

"Heavy equipment is used to maintain roads that will make way for future anti-climb barriers in El Paso. Texas will continue to deter and repel illegal entry along the southern border," Abbott said on X on May 29.

The governor did not say when the anti-climb barriers would be installed in El Paso. A June 21 post on social media shows Georgia National Guard engineers working with the Texas Guard on the structures.

Texas National Guard Engineer Special Response Teams last December installed a so-called anti-climb barrier near Brownsville, Texas, to stem illegal crossings, Abbott's office said.

"The teams are installing an anti-climb barrier behind the reinforced wire areas. The barrier also has barbed wire and concertina wire attached as to prevent climbing over with a ladder or other scaling device," the Texas Military Department said at the time

A Texas National Guard soldier oversees troops putting up anti-climb concertina wire fencing on the border in Brownsville, Texas, on Dec. 21, 2023.

Another state anti-climb barrier began going up late last month in Eagle Pass, Texas, even though the number of border crossings have fallen in recent weeks, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

Immigration advocates on both sides of the border have condemned Texas for placing razor wire to prevent people from seeking asylum in the U.S. Abbott and other state officials say they are trying to protect Texans in lieu of the Biden administration’s “open borders” policies.

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