Technology will be a critical component of a good border wall
In the dead of the desert night, several lumbering figures approach the U.S. border from the Mexican side. Are they smugglers bringing heroin or cocaine into the country, undocumented immigrants risking their lives, or maybe just a couple of hapless cows looking for fresh grass?
Currently, a lack of adequate technology makes it remarkably difficult for the U.S. Border Patrol to get an early warning of just what type of threat such incidents represent, despite an extensive network of video cameras and unattended ground sensors.
That is why the House Homeland Security Committee’s passage of a $10 billion border security bill last week is an important first step in plugging porous frontier areas without breaking the budget. Although Democrats were quick to skewer the Republican-backed bill as an empty gesture to please President Trump, the language of the committee’s bill rejects Trump’s grandiose campaign pledge of a “big, beautiful” wall stretching from coast to coast.
In doing so, it is part of a growing consensus within U.S. government agencies that the wall needs to be “smart” — a hybrid of physical and technological barriers that give Border Patrol agents far better awareness of threats than they currently have.