Accuracy in Media

Even if President Trump builds his big, bad wall on the Mexican border, it will do no good, according to the Washington Post Tuesday in a front-page exposé.

President Trump has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to develop a prototype for the wall along the Mexican border. The president has called for a “fence that is impenetrable” and “unscalable,” said Roy Villareal, acting chief patrol agent of the San Diego border sector.

“They can’t dig under it. They can’t cut through it.”

Several firms have erected models for what the wall as they envision it. Some boast reinforced bases; others are topped with metal spikes. They represent the best in wall technology from vendors across America.

But some border experts disagree.

“People are still going to cross no matter what is there,” said Kevin Avila Rodriguez, 17, who recycles trash and lives near the prototypes. “This won’t change things much.”

“The wall is just dividing families,” Kevin’s sister, Audelia Avila Rodriguez, 21, told the Post. It’s very ugly. It’s sad.”

Cesar, a 60-year-old plant salesman who has lived on the border for 23 years, said the flow of immigrants has slowed.

“I think they should spend the money on something more effective,” he said. “You’ll always see migrants.”

The article said that Mexicans’ reaction to the prototypes “ranges from offended to blasé’. Residents in Tijuana on the Mexican side are used to American barriers, he wrote, and the two-ply system in place in San Diego was “compromised” – cut open with axes or motorized saws or blow torches – 550 times in the last fiscal year.

That fencing includes a 10-foot fence built in the mid-1990s from metal sheets from leftover helicopter pads from the Vietnam War. A second layer, 14-18 feet high, sits behind that. The prototypes Trump ordered stand 30 feet tall, which will make scaling them considerably riskier, and are backed by electronic monitoring.

As for the tunnels, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, the famous drug lord now imprisoned in New York, built “super tunnels” in the area that were dozens of feet deep, equipped with elevators, ventilation and lighting – to move cocaine north into California. Seven such tunnels have been found just this year.

Officials with the Customs and Border Patrol have told him the walls under consideration probably would not go deep enough to block El Chapo-level tunnels in the future, according to the article.

In short, a staffer from the Washington Post went to the border to report on the wall prototypes, and five of the eight were in place. The ability of these companies to overcome design challenges – building a wall through unforgiving terrain that is effective enough to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs – could well play a major role in whether Congress approves funding for it.

But the Post does not provide information on how to overcome the tunnel problem, nor does it detail how to secure the above-ground aspects of border control – a dozen or so immigrants mistakenly wandered through the site while he was there and were arrested.

It is not about what technology might make border control effective. It’s about the opinion of a 17-year-old boy who recycles trash for a living, and his sister, who says, “The president over there, he keeps insulting us, saying that we’re the worst.” And a 60-year-old guy who has been there so long he can’t imagine the place being any different.

As Mickey Kaus said on Twitter,: “Hate word ‘fake news,’ but sometimes obvious reporter had his snarky angle before left DC. Hangs on 1-2 weak quotes.”

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