A single “big, beautiful wall” stretching from San Diego to Texas may be unnecessary in achieving the stated goals of the Trump administration in reducing illegal immigration and other threats, according to one senior Border Patrol official.
Speaking before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security on Tuesday, Border Patrol Acting Deputy Chief Scott Luck said that a wall would be necessary in high traffic areas like dense urban population centers, but technology could supplement a wall in the rural areas that dominate the mostly austere border region between the United States and Mexico.
“In the urban areas, we want to have something that slows down the volume — the traffic flow so we want to have a persistent impedance or an impedance and denial system, such as a physical barrier,” Luck said, “But that in itself doesn’t work on its own. It’s part of a package that we are concentrating on as part of our new strategy as it relates to the executive order.”
The executive order Luck referred to was one signed by President Donald Trump soon after assuming office, creating a policy to “secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism.”
Earlier this year, Border Patrol Chief Ron Vitiello said that a border wall will be important and effective when augmented with agents on the ground to operate surveillance equipment and make arrests.
No clear cost estimate has been established for the border wall, mostly because the criteria for such a wall have yet to be established. While the U.S.-Mexico border stretches for over 2,000 miles, some physical barriers in the harsh terrain across the southwest may make a wall unnecessary in some areas. This could reduce costs; as it stands, estimates have varied from $4 to $70 billion.
President Trump has remained committed to the construction of The Wall, which was long a pillar in his candidacy for President. This week, Congress will vote to spend $1.6 billion on starting construction. However, Senate Democrats have vowed to resist any and all legislation with funding allocated towards border security, creating the possibility of a government shutdown-style showdown sometime later this year.
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