History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.
7th Century (BCE) Tech faces off against Tim “Tool Time” Taylor, Al, and the good folks at Binford who can solve all your border crossing needs with their complete line of ladders, reciprocating saws, and earthmoving equipment rentals (Parker “How deep do you want the hole?” Schnabel optional at slight additional expense).
Trump said the new border wall was “impenetrable.” Smugglers are sawing through it.
By Catherine Kim, Vox
Nov 2, 2019
President Donald Trump promised a wall on the border would radically change undocumented immigration and customs enforcement. But it turns out newly built sections of the president’s wall aren’t as sturdy as he promised: Smugglers have been using a commercial saw to cut through it, according to the Washington Post.
Smuggling people and goods into the US is a profitable industry for criminal organizations, which is why they are motivated to innovate when it comes to breaching barriers. Of late, smugglers have reportedly been cutting through the wall — which is made of steel bollards that are partially filled with concrete — to make gaps large enough for people and goods to pass through.
To do so, smugglers are reportedly using a reciprocating saw that can be bought for as little as $100. The tool can cut through the wall’s steel and concrete in minutes when fitted with the appropriate blades, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have said.
After cutting the steel bollards, smugglers have taken to returning them to their original positions in hope of reusing the passage without being detected by border officials.
Agents now reportedly patrol the wall in search of defects, which are mended. However, those repaired sections of wall are prime targets for smugglers, as it is easier to cut through the welded metal than it is to make new cuts. And the repair policy has also been targeted by smugglers who attempt to fool agents into believing a severed bollard has been fixed by applying putty to the site of the cut.
All of this should be unsurprising to the Trump administration. NBC News has reported border barrier prototypes tested in 2017 were found to be vulnerable to reciprocating saws. At the time, CBP spokesman Ralph DeSio argued that no wall, however well designed, would be impenetrable.
That didn’t stop Trump from touting the wall as “virtually impenetrable” when he visited a construction site close to San Diego in September, according to NBC News. At the time, he said the wall — which has cost roughly $10 billion so far and has been mostly funded by taxpayers — would successfully block human traffickers from entering the US. He added that not even world class climbers would be able to scale the structure, especially because the materials that comprise it would become too hot to hold in the desert sun.
Yet smugglers have also found ways of climbing the wall. A method that involves using rebar ladders to scale one side and rope ladders to descend the other has become especially popular near San Diego, despite the risk of falling from the height of a three-story-building (the barrier can be up to 30 feet tall).
It is unclear how many breaches there have been so far because the US government has yet to disclose any incidents. Some officials who spoke to The Washington Post anonymously played down the situation, saying there had been only “a few instances” and the wall has “significantly increased security and deterrence.”
The reality, however, is that there is no single physical barrier can completely stop smugglers — even CBP officials acknowledge that. The solution, officials say, is to augment the wall with surveillance technology and border agents on the ground who can combat smugglers. Without such a system, smugglers won’t be deterred, they said.
For Trump, however, this reality may not matter much: The wall’s effectiveness is perhaps less important than its existence, which allows him to truthfully say he has made good on a signature campaign promise.