President Trump said in his Oval Office speech Tuesday that the U.S.-Mexico wall he’s advocated for is “absolutely critical to border security.”
But what if it’s not?
In a recent test, the Department of Homeland Security showed that a steel-slat prototype of the wall could be cut through with a saw.
NBC News reports, “A photo exclusively obtained by NBC News shows the results of the test after military and Border Patrol personnel were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools.”
Latest wall prototype is so secure that it probably took the Marines less then ten minutes to figure out how to saw through it using “common tools”. https://t.co/t9iOdt1xia
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) January 10, 2019
“The Trump administration directed the construction of eight steel and concrete prototype walls that were built in Otay Mesa, California, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico. Trump inspected the prototypes in March 2018,” NBC News reports. “He has now settled on a steel slat, or steel bollard, design for the proposed border barrier additions. Steel bollard fencing has been used under previous administrations.”
“However, testing by DHS in late 2017 showed all eight prototypes, including the steel slats, were vulnerable to breaching, according to an internal February 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection report,” the report notes.
Apparently photos of how penetrable the wall is were not included in CBP reports, this information was obtained, “in a Freedom of Information Act Request by San Diego public broadcaster KPBS.”
NBC News picked up the story after obtaining the photos which were taken at a part of the California-Mexico border, known as “Pogo Row.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s Katie Waldman said in a statement, “The professionals on the border know that a wall system is intended not only to prevent entry, it is intended to defer and to increase the amount of time and effort it takes for one to enter so that we can respond with limited border patrol agents. Even a wall that is being breached is a valuable tool in that it allows us to respond to the attempted illegal entry.”
CBP spokesman Ralph DeSio said in response to the original KPBS story that the prototypes “were not and cannot be designed to be indestructible,” but were designed to “impede or deny efforts to scale, breach, or dig under such a barrier, giving agents time to respond.”
“It’s very, very hard — the wall that we are doing is very, very hard to penetrate,” President Trump has said.