Border Fence – Naco

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There was a lot of talk about the state of the border fence during the debate last month over the senate immigration bill. Last week our border squad visited the U.S. / Mexico border in three areas to see what kind of fencing was present. This week we will have a series of articles about what we found.

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The first place we went for our look at the border fence was Naco, AZ (a border town about 54 miles west of the Arizona/New Mexico border.) Our first impression was that there was a lot of fencing, a lot. It is similar to the type of fencing that you see a lot on the news. Large steel posts set vertically in the ground with plates of scrap metal welded together horizontally. This was the most common fence type that we say our whole trip. It was about 8 feet high. Unlike some news reports we have seen with people sneaking through parts of a fence the fencing around Naco was in very good condition. We did not see and it did not look possible to squeeze through any part of the fence.

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There was one other type of fencing that we saw. It was vertical square steel tubing placed together in a staggered pattern. It was far enough apart for jackrabbits to traverse back and forth between the two countries but would have been impossible for a human to get through it. Sometimes it was just the square steel posts but most of the time it looked as if the hollow vertical tubes had been filled with concrete. This appeared to be the most robust part of the border fence. Because of the concrete inside it would be very difficult to cut through the steel even with industrial tools on hand. Because it is just a series of vertical bars there was not much to held on to if someone tried to climb it. In comparison to the standard scrap metal fencing the vertical concrete filled tubes appeared to be from 14 to 16 feet high. In a strange way they appeared more attractive than the scrap metal, almost the look of a modern sculpture.

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I saw two vehicles in the area east of the official Naco border crossing. One was stationary and one was patrolling the read on the U.S. side. About 3 miles east of Naco the steel plate fence just turned into a standard barbwire fence. Some concrete pipes had been placed on the ground. The appeared to and would be good vehicle barriers. They would not have stopped foot traffic.

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Based on some markers the fencing was built by engineering companies from the U.S. Military (National Guard.) Their colorful signs were easily noticed on the otherwise drab fence. There were some towers with cameras and other equipment on top of them.

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There is little question that the main part of Naco has a robust fence but the question is what happens when the steel fence turns to barbwire. There was a road for patrolling but we did not notice many vehicles where the fence ended. The Border Patrol may be using other means to cover these areas; sensors, cameras, or aerial surveillance.

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  1. I know that area well. My greatgrandparents has a ranch some 6 miles east of the Bisbee Junction right on the border. The house fell into Mexico and the ruins are just across the border.

    The Mexican railroad runs very close to the border at that point and within the last two years I have seen the train move very slowly there. It had cattle cars with the doors facing south. I know that that particular spot is a very busy crossing.I assume that many of the crossers ride the train to the border. I believe that we need a fence not only there, but all across the border. It will not keep everybody out, but it will keep a lot of them out and make it easier to apprehend the ones who do come across.

  2. Iris Lynch says

    For a complete analysis of the entire border and the variety of fences, their lengths and types, Glenn Spencer of the American Border Patrol will be releasing a comprehensive report on Weds. You will be able to view it at

  3. Oh no! Now there are two Anns and two Tims!

    I am the original, uppercase A Ann. I guess I could be Ann L., like Tim is now Tim S……

    Anyway, I really appreciate this series. The links on the first were, as you said, heartbreaking.

  4. Iris,

    Thanks for the link. Interesting site.

  5. Doubling my pleasure, doubling my fun!

    Ann, meet ann. ann, meet Ann!

  6. Hey, Good evening it´s just i absolutely enjoy your great site, I would be very honored to write a heartful review about your amazing blog on my own would you say yes please?

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