While the debate around whether or not a permanent border wall should be built rages on, concerns over a government shutdown concerning the wall’s funding have been temporarily alleviated. On Wednesday, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Congress would vote on a “stop-gap” measure to provide financing for essential government services, but would not include any money allocated for the wall, according to a report from Fox News. President Trump has estimated that construction of the wall will require $5 billion.
Although some politicians feel the price tag is too steep, some private citizens have taken it upon themselves to crowdsource funding for construction, using apps like Go Fund Me. One campaign has been organized by former Air Force Senior Airman Brian Kolfage, who lost both legs and an arm after a 107mm mortar shell hit him during an attack on Balad Air Base in 2004. According to Kolfage, the US government has taken large donations such as his in the past, most notably for the repairs of the Washington Monument.
“Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump, we voted for him to Make America Great Again,” Kolfage wrote on his Go Fund Me page. “President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still. As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today. Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society.”
What is even less clear, is what the wall will look like if it’s constructed. In August of 2017, Border Patrol awarded four construction contracts to create concrete “prototypes” in San Diego, according to one report from the Washington Post. Other, non-concrete, prototypes have been reviewed as well.
Perhaps more importantly than the physical wall itself will be the detection and deterrence technologies which will accompany it. One idea being floated by tech companies is a virtual barrier system. Currently, both Quanergy and Anduril are actively researching technological substitutions for a physical wall, which may be hard to construct along the more rugged terrain found along the US-Mexico border reports CNBC.
Quanergy is already in the business of creating “smart sensing capabilities” using Lidar, a system similar to RADAR, which uses lasers in place of radio waves. The company claims that it “can classify and track a human body, based on its unique surface profile curvature, to monitor a person’s movement near a virtual fence.” Anduril is ditching the idea of a fence entirely and instead is offering an artificial intelligence-driven surveillance program.