Why Trump’s Mexico Border Wall Will Be Little More Than A Monument To Stupidity
When Texas Representative Henry Cuellar ridiculed Trump’s Mexico border wall as a “14th-century solution to a 21st-century problem,” he was right on the mark. One has to look no further than than the infamous Berlin Wall to witness the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of a wall to prevent people from crossing a border. While the Berlin Wall had the opposite intention of keeping people in a country versus the Mexico wall intended to keep people out of a country, it should still serve as a reminder of how useless a US southern border wall will be.
The Berlin Wall was actually not just one wall, but two walls with a 160 yard “death strip” in the middle. Each wall had hundreds of guard towers, while the death strip in between had trip wire machine guns, vicious guard dogs, mines, and trenches. One can clearly see that the Berlin Wall was far more fortified than any Mexico wall could possibly be, yet 5000 people in the 28 years it was up managed to escape. That is staggering in the face of the dangers and odds of success in attempting to cross, a testament to the courage, tenacity, and ingenuity determined people are capable of displaying.
Investment in technology, a virtual border wall if you will, is a far more effective solution to stem the flow of illegals across our southern border with Mexico. The technology is already there and border patrol agents already have access to many of these high tech modalities…they simply need more access to them. Here are some of the high tech solutions to border patrol already in use:
- Aerostats – These are essentially giant blimps attached to the ground equipped with infrared sensors and and high resolution cameras.
- Port Of Entry (POA) Technology – As vehicles approach checkpoints, stationary cameras take images of the front and rear license plates, an image of the driver and a color picture of the car. Those images are then run through a database to check for criminal records, immigration law violations or terrorist activities.
The first two advances in border surveillance virtually closes the gaps between watch towers and enable the operators to monitor large areas at the touch of a joystick. They enable the operator to dispatch border patrol in real time and already have resulted in over 10,000 arrests at the border. The POE technology protects one of the most common modes of entry, smuggling through security check points.
A wall also would not address statistically the most common way illegal immigrants enter the United States: through a major airport. The number of people that arrive on an airplane and simply overstay their travel visas far exceeds the number that run across the border. Politifact estimates that 40% of all illegal aliens arrived by airplane entering the country in plain sight. Thus, until there is a visa tracking system in place, this practice will continue unchecked and no amount of wall will stop it.
Trump’s wall will be a colossal waste of money and resources that would be far better allocated elsewhere to combat illegal immigration. It will serve only for Trump to make good on a campaign promise made to his by in large ignorant base that will somehow sleep better at night knowing it is there. In Trump’s mind and in the minds of his fellow GOP immigration hardliners, in constructing their useless wall, they will at least get to bask in the imminent praise of their base whose xenophobic impulses will be satified.
Primary source for article – NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/us/politics/on-the-mexican-border-a-case-for-technology-over-concrete.html