The United States has collected its first payment from Mexico under a new deal designed to pass the cost of border fence damages on to the culprits, according to reports.
After years of American taxpayers shouldering the financial burden of daily destruction to barriers along the southern frontier, a 2019 agreement has gone into effect which compels Mexico to reimburse the U.S. for some of those fees.
“The U.S. government collected its first fine as part of a new bilateral deal that forces Mexico to prosecute anyone who damages the fence along one part of the southern border and send penalties collected to the United States,” the Washington Examiner reports.
The pact reportedly applies to a stretch of old border fencing in southeastern California where some $396,000 in damages were suffered during the 2019 fiscal year.
“We just collected the first fine,” said Gloria Chavez, former chief of Border Patrol in El Centro sector. “It was like $600. The person paid the fine in lieu of going to jail in Mexico for damaging the border wall.”
Chavez, who reportedly played an integral role in proposing and reaching the new agreement, says she was shocked at the ongoing costs associated with maintaining the fence amid a daily assault from foreigners.
“When I saw that number, I said, ‘Absolutely not. We have to do something more about this. We have to hold these people accountable that are cutting our border fence,’” Chavez said.
“Because look at the money that we are spending. These are U.S. dollars that we are spending in trying to fix the mesh fencing.”
While the deal currently only applies to the aforementioned region in California, Chavez hopes to expand it to encompass El Paso sector, where she is now in command.
The Trump administration recently announced that over 400 miles of new border barrier system have been completed, and projects to hit 450 miles in the near future.
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