The Slatest

Whistleblowers Say Armed Mexicans Were Smuggled Into U.S. to Provide Security for Border Wall Construction

Construction vehicles and workers next to a section of tall fencing with a gap in it
Construction crews work on the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Jacumba, California, on Dec. 1. Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Donald Trump used the idea of “the wall” to propel his run to the White House in 2016, but two whistleblowers allege the border wall’s construction has gotten an assist from unauthorized workers smuggled into the U.S. and hired by contractors to preform construction and security jobs. That’s according to a federal complaint, filed in February and unsealed last week, brought by two workers employed by a contractor to provide security at wall construction sites along the border. The workers also accused the company they were employed by, Sullivan Land Services Co., and a subcontractor, Ultimate Concrete of El Paso, of myriad misdeeds, including hiring unauthorized workers and overcharging the U.S. government.

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The most jaw-dropping charge in the whistleblower complaint, however, is that Ultimate Concrete not only smuggled armed Mexican security personnel over the border to provide protection, but the company “went so far as to build a dirt road to expedite illegal border crossings to sites in San Diego, using construction vehicles to block security cameras,” the New York Times reported. “An unnamed supervisor at the Army Corps of Engineers approved the operation.”

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One of the whistleblowers is a former deputy sheriff in San Diego County, and the other a former FBI special agent who had been deployed on the border for wall construction security. “One of the guards, who served as an on-site security manager for the contractors, told special agents with the F.B.I. that he had discovered through monthly audits of workers at the site in San Diego that many of the personnel working on construction and security were not vetted or approved by Customs and Border Protection,” according to the Times. “[Sullivan Land Services Co.], a primary builder of Mr. Trump’s wall, has been awarded contracts worth more than $1.4 billion for work on multiple parts of the border. With those funds, the company is said to have allowed its subcontractor, Ultimate Concrete, to hire armed Mexicans and facilitate illegal border crossings that the president has worked to shut down.”

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