The U.S. Border Patrol is installing razor-sharp concertina wire atop border fencing between San Diego and Tijuana, marking a major shift in approach along a frequently violent stretch of the frontier, reports the Los Angeles Times. The triple-strand wire, meant to keep smugglers from attacking agents, will stretch five miles when completed this summer — the longest expanse of this type of wire ever used on the Southwest border.
Federal authorities in the past have avoided using fortifications with such negative symbolism. Hundreds of miles of barriers going up in other areas have had to meet “aesthetically pleasing” federal design standards. Critics say the new approach is inhumane and could leave illegal immigrants bloodied. Border officials in San Diego say it was necessary and already is proving effective. They say they opted to augment the existing fencing with razor wire amid escalating violence across from Colonia Libertad, one of Tijuana’s most notorious smuggling enclaves. Already one of the most heavily fortified stretches along the Southwest border, rhe area has been the scene of frequent clashes between rock-throwing youths and agents firing pepper spray and tear gas.