Past Features

October 19, 2017

CBP hints at Trump border
wall technology?

Radar panel is from Web site of Elta North America -- one of the companies selected to build a prototype wall.
Examiner -- October 19, 2017
Top immigration official says solar-paneled border wall 'not off the table'
    Otay Mesa, Calif. -- A solar-paneled barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border is an option the Trump administration could pursue, according to a senior Customs and Border Protection official who has been closely monitoring the construction of prototypes that are meant to inspire a design for President Trump's border wall.
    Mario Villarreal, the newly appointed division chief for CBP's San Diego field office, is enjoying his front-row seat to history as President Trump's border wall continues to stir controversy 3,000 miles away in Washington.
    Mario Villarreal, the newly appointed division chief for CBP's San Diego field office, is enjoying his front-row seat to history as President Trump's border wall continues to stir controversy 3,000 miles away in Washington. [...]
    "We're excited to see the industry come up with new, innovative, and creative ideas in the form of border wall prototypes," Villarreal told the Examiner.
   One idea, floated by Trump earlier this summer, is a barrier along the border that "pays for itself" through the production of solar energy.
    "We're certainly looking for different methods and ways to make this better. Solar panels or technology bundles on top of the fence certainly isn't off the table," said Villarreal, a 32-year veteran of CBP who has worked in three of the four states bordering Mexico.

Glenn Spencer -- October 19, 2017
Vandalism a threat on the border
    The idea of using solar panels to help pay for the wall is seductive, but fraught with risks. Solar panels must generally face south - and that would be right into Mexico. Most of the south side of the U.S. Mexico border between El Paso and San Diego is not patrolled. It would be a simple matter for vandals to use high-powered rifles to take aim at the panels from a thousand yards away.
    The same applies to technology placed atop the wall, which may explain why CBP camera towers are usually at least one-half mile from the border.
    If radar is used, the same bullets used against solar panels can put radar out of action as well. Moreover, radar would need a power supply --- most likely from large solar panels fairly near the “wall'. If the wall is a “Wence” (wall fence) it would be a matter of firing through the gaps (Radar has line-of-sight problems as well.).
    The US/Mexico border is a very special place --- as those of us who live right on it can attest.

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