SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The Border Patrol is working to upgrade the fence that sits along the U.S.-Mexico border as more and more people attempt to cut through the barrier, forcing agents to spend time making repairs.
According to the agency, an average of 540 cuts are made in the fence per year. Border Patrol says some tools enable crossers to cut through the fence in as little as 20 seconds.
The agency added that, since 2016, the number of arrests at the border has seen a sharp increase. In 2016, 26,000 arrests were made. That figure rose dramatically in 2017 to 38,000 arrests.
The project to upgrade the fence began over the summer and will eventually replace about 14 miles of scrap metal wall.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection told 10News in June that the old fence was erected in the 1990s from Vietnam-era scrap metal.
“The construction of this new substantial wall will improve overall border security, the safety and effectiveness of Border Patrol agents, the safety of the public, and will enhance the atmosphere for business and commerce in the area,” said Rodney Scott, Chief Patrol Agent for the San Diego Sector.
The upgrade comes as the Trump administration prepares to send thousands of troops to the border to provide logistical support as a migrant caravan approaches.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the caravan was about 800 miles away from the U.S.