Past Features

July 6, 2017

Is the tunneling problem that serious?
Are solutions at hand?

U.S. government could use eminent domain to create buffer zones against tunneling.
Fox News -- July 5, 2017
Border Patrol agents say they are ill-equipped to detect drug tunnels
    As the U.S. debates the border wall proposed by President Trump, a new, illicit world is emerging underground.
    And while Trump believes a wall will thwart illegal immigrants and drug dealers, it will do little to address the daunting labyrinth law enforcement authorities are confronting below the ground, a challenge that officials say they are ill-equipped to address.
    There are at least 180 cross-border tunnels and intricate drainage systems between Mexico and California and Arizona, according to the Border Patrol, and drug dealers and human traffickers, known as coyotes, use these tunnels to move drugs and illegally smuggle people across the border largely undetected. As the number of tunnels grow and become more sophisticated, Border Patrol agents say they are falling behind in finding technology that will detect them. [...]
    There are at least 180 cross-border tunnels and intricate drainage systems between Mexico and California and Arizona, according to the Border Patrol, and drug dealers and human traffickers, known as coyotes, use these tunnels to move drugs and illegally smuggle people across the border largely undetected. As the number of tunnels grow and become more sophisticated, Border Patrol agents say they are falling behind in finding technology that will detect them.
    “Unfortunately, we are severely lacking in technology,” he said, referring to the number of field agents available and the quality of the existing equipment to reliably detect a tunnel. “It's difficult trying to find something in a specific geologic region that is in a confined space that can be 4 feet in diameter and 90 feet underground.”

Glenn Spencer -- July 6, 2017
Tunnel solutions -- and wall problems
    The border between El Paso and San Diego vulnerable to tunneling (don't try tunneling under the Rio Grande River) runs about 665 miles. Tunnels have been discovered in about 16 miles of that total, including San Diego, Nogales, and, to a limited extent, near Tecate, Calexico and Douglas.
    First, the government could use eminent domain to clear a buffer zone in the three of the vulnerable areas --- Calexico --- Nogales --- and Tecate.
    Due to the density of development, San Diego represents a special problem. Still, there are limited number of places where a tunnel might emerge on the U.S. side, and these might be equipped with special instrumentation.
    Besides detecting above-ground smugglers, and low flying aircraft. SEIDARM could easily detect tunnel construction and use along the remaining 658 miles of border between El Paso and San Diego --- including Nogales and Calexico and Tecate --- once a buffer zone has been created.
    The Fox report on tunneling did reveal another problem, however. The Mexican government has been remise in sealing tunnels on its side of the border. What would it do if people built scaffolding, or other structures such as ladders, on the south side of President Trump's solid wall? Probably nothing.

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