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The Lone Star State already has a wall along its border with Mexico. Some 650 miles of a barrier exist. The Mexicans call it a “muro” and the Texans on the other side call it a fence. In the area around the El Paso-Juarez border, the fencing ranges from corrugated metal to metal mesh sunk as much as 6 feet underground.
Next to the shadow of that ‘muro’ stands Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, who overlooks the mighty roaring Rio Grande. On the other side of the river he can see Nuevo Laredo. Mr Cuellar has a message for President Trump.
“With all due respect, President Trump, but your wall ain’t gonna work here. All my life, I’ve followed the smugglers, know their routes, their strategies, the way they work. We have the solutions. We’re the first-responders.” Mr Cuellar calls for a combination of boots on the ground and technology (night-vision camera equipped drones) to be used to grind out the smugglers, saying that a wall will not stop them.
He should know, having been sheriff for the past nine years now.
Mr Cuellar is seeking for $92 million in funding over five years for what he calls Operation Border SMART (Strategic Mobile And Response Team), which consists of a virtual wall that uses technology and boots on the ground as an alternative to an actual wall. If operated, the virtual wall would then extend about 300 miles from Starr County in South Texas all the way to Del Rio and be supported by drones patrolling (according to an adjustable computer algorithm) from point A to B.
Mr Cuellar’s idea is endorsed by business leaders and law enforcement officials on both sides of the Mexican - US border. Even Republican Representative Mr Will Hurd of San Antonio has praised the idea of a “smart wall” to counter sophisticated drug traffickers armed with technology and has proposed bipartisan legislation to congress.
Mr Hurd who represents the district that stretches from east El Paso all the way to San Antonio said: “We need a smart wall to solve our 21st-century problems. A wall is an outdated, 19th-century approach that doesn’t work anymore.”