The Problem With a ‘Smart’ Border Wall

Congressional Democrats and Republicans have reportedly come to a deal that would avert a second government shutdown. The details of the agreement are not yet clear, but it appears the Democrats have conceded some funding for President Donald Trump’s border fencing, and tabled their demand to decrease immigrant detention capacity.

One element that’s probably in the mix: funds for a “smart wall.” That’s the term lawmakers from both sides of the aisle often use to refer to sensors, scanners, and drones along the border that would “create a technological barrier too high to climb over, too wide to go around, and too deep to burrow under,” as Jim Clyburn, the House Democrat from South Carolina known for popularizing the term, wrote in an op-ed in The Hill. Republicans representing border districts, like Will Hurd from Texas, have also supported it.

When compared to the

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