Past Features

September 17, 2017

Tribal Test of Trump Wall

Tribal members walk along vehicle barrier on the Mexican border adjacent Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation -- Photo by Megan Siquieros --- see story below.
NBC News -- September 16, 2017  
Trump's Border Wall Could Carve Path Through Native American Lands
  Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Edward Manuel is determined to prevent President Trump's proposed border wall from carving a path through his tribe's lands --- a move which he said would separate members from much needed resources and disrupt the community's way of life.
    The nation, which is about the size of Connecticut, is a federally recognized tribe that has land and members on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.
    “Walls are made to keep animals in or out, walls cannot contain people,” Manuel said. “People are too intelligent. They can always find a way to get over the wall, under the wall or through the wall.” [...]
    Currently, the nation is working with Border Patrol to add 15 surveillance and sensor towers for added security, tribal officials said.

Glenn Spencer -- September 17, 2017
How to secure the border next to tribal land
    As shown in this map, The Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation runs along 62 miles of the Mexico border in Arizona. A vehicle barrier runs the entire length, most likely using the 60-foot Roosevelt easement owned by the federal government. A new fence, such as the double-layered fence authorized by the Secure Fence Act of 2006 for this stretch of border, could be built within that easement. It should not be necessary to invoke eminent domain.
    Here are some options for that stretch of border:
    1: Install BORDAS on the 62 miles of border next to vehicle barriers. Detect and identify every border crosser, and allow some in. Prevent 85% of unwanted human traffic, detect all tunnels and low flying aircraft - including drones. Design border barriers --- “the wall” --- to meet the threat. Cost $9.3 million. Saving unnecessary wall --- $150 million.
 2: Install an 18-foot steel-beam fence on 62 miles. Prevent 90% of human traffic. Cost: $248 million.
    3. Install steel-beem fence and BORDAS. Prevent 99% of human traffic, detect all tunneling and low flying aircraft - including drones. Cost: $257.3 million.
    4. Install 15 Integrated Fixed Towers. Detect 50% of human border crossers. Have US Border Patrol tear up the landscape chasing --- and losing suspects. Ignore tunneling and low - flying aircraft. Reduction in illegal border crossers will be unknown. ---Cost $300 million.
    Guess which plan CBP is likely to pick? That's right --- Number 4.