Past Features

August 22, 2017

The fight over the border wall...
Trump's or Obama's?

Integrated Fixed Towers east of Douglas, Arizona. See larger image
The Hill -- August 21, 2017
Trump poised for a September fight over border wall
    Funding for President Trump's proposed border wall is poised to be a central issue in this fall's showdown over government funding.
    Unless Congress approves a new funding bill, the government will shut down on Oct. 1.
    Trump is demanding funds for the wall that was the centerpiece of his successful presidential campaign, but Democrats have warned they will vote en masse against any legislation that includes money for the wall.
    “I don't see Democrats going along with anything that funds the wall,” said one senior House Democratic aide. [...]
    Republicans from border states such as Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Rep. Will Hurd (Texas), Reps. Martha McSally (Ariz.) and Rep. Steve Pearce (N.M.) have expressed doubts about the plan.

Glenn Spencer -- August 22, 2017
Talk about Obama's Wall
    It has been nearly eight months since President Trump took command of the border situation. Border apprehensions are down, due mostly to tougher policies, but the long-term solution promised by the construction of a border ‘wall' remains elusive, due in part to tactical mistakes, including insistence on the use of the term ‘wall'.
    The president used the Secure Fence Act of 2006 as his principal barrier-building legal authority.
    In 2007, Sen. Hutchinson passed an amendment that gave the Secretary of Homeland Security the discretion as to the type of structure that can be constructed, so long as it ‘maintains operational control over the international border…” DHS can't measure operational control of the border --- so it built what it wanted --- including Integrated Fixed Towers (IFTs) --- a concept born in the Obama Administration.
    I shall call IFTs Obama's Wall.
    So far, Obama's Wall has been built near Nogales, in and near the Coronado National Forest, and east of Douglas, Arizona --- at a cost of $20 million per IFT --- or about $500 million.
    The idea was to not build a fence, but allow aliens to cross, and then spot them with IFTs --- so Border Patrol agents can chase them down.
    In June, DHS OIG issued a special report reminding us the Integrated Fixed Towers were never properly tested, raising serious questions about their ability to even spot aliens after they cross.
    At Douglas eight IFTs cover 20 miles of the border - at a cost of $8 million per mile. Coupled with advanced technology, for about $4 million per mile it would have been possible to build a fence that would prevent aliens from crossing in the first place --- which is the job of DHS.
    Thus far, the president has said nothing about Obama's wall, and, as far as we know, the brains behind it are still at DHS/CBP.
    Be assured that the Fake News will not talk about Obama's Wall --- but President Trump should.
Breaking! This morning I was asked by Neil Gallagher of BBC Newsday what I thought the president should say tonight. I said he should talk about Obama’s wall.