Glenn Spencer_Border Fence

Border Fence Under Renewed Fire After Rancher Killing

By Joshua Rhett Miller-

The killing of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz allegedly by an illegal immigrant has some critics pointing out that hundreds of miles of U.S.-Mexico border fencing isn’t even high enough to stop a person on foot.

Of the 646 miles of barriers currently constructed along the 2,000-mile southern border of the United States, 300 miles are vehicle barriers, according to the Department of Homeland Security. That means they’re meant to keep out cars and trucks, but aren’t high enough to keep out people crossing the border illegally on foot.

Fencing in place just south of the Krentz family ranch in southeastern Arizona is exactly that kind of vehicle barrier, plus there’s a sizable gap in the fence nearby.

Residents and officials say the security barrier is simply ineffective, and that the killing last month is shining a light on the problem.

Rancher Wendy Glenn, Krentz’s longtime friend and neighbor who heard the man’s last radio transmission to his brother, said she has roughly 4 miles of border fence along Malpai Ranch. The “wildlife-friendly” barrier — one that allows large animals and determined people to pass through freely — ranges from large Normandy-style “X” crosses to standard posts and rails, topping off at no more than six feet high, she said.

“It doesn’t keep any people out,” Glenn told on Monday. “We don’t want any more fence here. We want more people on the border. No matter what they put in, they’re going to tunnel under, cut through, or use ladders. We don’t need that.”

Glenn characterized the border fence as a “big waste of money” and called for increased federal presence along the remote areas, as well increased communication among law enforcement agencies.

“We need more people on the border,” she said. “And we need more horse patrols — they are awesome.”

Jenny Burke, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said 646 of approximately 670 miles of pedestrian and vehicle border fencing has been constructed as of March 26. Just six miles of fencing infrastructure remains to be completed along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, Burke said.

The roughly 1,350 miles that will not be protected by a border fence of any kind will be patrolled by border agents, other infrastructure or technology, Burke said, or a combination of all three.

Pedestrian fencing used along the border is determined by the geography and have several variations, including steel picket-style fences set in concrete, blockades similar to those found around federal buildings and concrete walls with steel mesh. Vehicle fences, meanwhile, are about 6 feet tall and are typically large Normandy-style crosses.

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