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Trump’s US-Mexico border wall falls down in high winds

The Independent logo The Independent 30/1/2020 Andy Gregory

a crane next to a train © Provided by The Independent A newly built section of Donald Trump’s prized border wall has fallen into Mexico after succumbing to gusts of less than 40mph.

The 30-foot tall steel panels landed on trees in Mexicali on Wednesday, across the border from the Californian town of Calexico.

“Luckily, Mexican authorities responded quickly and were able to divert traffic from the nearby street,” US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent Carlos Pitones told the LA Times. Nobody is believed to have been injured.

The construction of a US-Mexico border wall was one of Mr Trump’s key election promises, yet in November his administration was forced to admit that only 78 miles had been built, and that all of it was merely replacing existing or broken barriers.

The area of the collapse is reportedly part of this effort to improve existing sections of the wall, and Mr Pitones said the collapsed section had been newly set in concrete, which had not yet cured.

“We are grateful there was no property damage or injuries,” Mr Pitones said, adding that US border agents were working to retrieve the panels from Mexico and re-erect them. “CBP will work with the construction contractor to mitigate the impact of high winds as construction continues.”

Wind speed in the area at the time of the collapse reached a high of 33mph, with gusts of 39mph, according to the US National Weather Service.

Despite three years of slow progress, Mr Trump has pledged to build 450 miles by 2021, likely in an attempt to boost his electoral chances later this year.

As well as facing political and legal challenges, the Trump administration has been forced to overcome physical obstacles, filing three lawsuits towards the close of 2019 as part of efforts to seize US citizens' property.

The Department of Justice has indicated it is preparing to file more lawsuits to this effect, Associated Press reported in November.

Mr Trump has also sought to seize funds from multiple governmental departments, which recently included $7.2bn (£5.5bn) from the Pentagon, according to The Washington Post, which the paper calculates brings the total devoted to the project so far to $18.4bn (£14.2bn).

While Mr Trump has often claimed the wall “can’t be climbed”, viral footage has shown multiple people climbing existing portions of the costly barriers, and to-scale replicas, with relative ease.

The US president in November claimed he wasn’t familiar with a Washington Post report suggesting smugglers had succeeded in cutting through sections of his wall using everyday household power tools.​

“I haven’t heard that. We have a very powerful wall”, Mr Trump said. “But no matter how powerful, you can cut through anything, in all fairness. But we have a lot of people watching.”

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