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Migrants climb wall with camouflage ladders



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EL PASO, Texas – Smugglers in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico have engineered camouflage hook-and-ladders made of rebar that blend in so well with the border wall that it can be hard to detect, according to U.S. Border Patrol. The ladders are the same rust brown color as the mesh panels or steel beams of the fence.

El Paso’s urban stretch of border is littered with the rusted rebar ladders at the base on both sides — ladders lying in wait on the Mexican side, ladders pulled down by border agents or abandoned by smugglers on the U.S. side. One of the rebar ladders was poking out of a dumpster in a lot near the Chihuahuita neighborhood on Thursday. 

“Somebody is making money off those ladders,” said Agent Joe Romero, pointing to a mangled version tossed in the dirt on the U.S. side. “The agents pulled it off the wall and cut it up so it can’t be used again.”

Border patrol agents Joe Romero and Fidel Baca look at discarded ladders migrants use to climb over the border fence Thursday, Feb. 13, in El Paso.

The ladders appear to be made with two poles of 3/8-inch rebar and four thinner poles, outfitted with steps and bent over at the end in a U, to hook on the top of the wall. It’s the sort of cubed rebar support structure used in construction in Mexico, called castillo

Romero said the rebar ladders started turning up in large numbers in the El Paso sector last year in May, around the time that construction of the most recent replacement wall finished downtown. They’ve been a go-to method for scaling the fence in the urban footprint since.





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