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BY: Charles Fain Lehman
President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday to explain that his vision of a border wall with Mexico—a key feature of his winning 2016 campaign—did not necessarily mean a physical barrier along the entirety of the border.
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"The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water," Trump wrote.
One Republican, Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, is ready with a plan to create such a "see through" solution to border security. Hurd's bill, the Secure Miles with All Resources and Technology (SMART) Act, is meant to apply 21st century technology to the problem of keeping the border secure.
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"We can't double down on a Third Century approach to solve 21st Century problems if we want a viable long-term solution," Hurd said at the bill's roll-out in July.
In lieu of an end-to-end concrete barrier, the bill would charge the Department of Homeland Security with deploying a variety of technologies to police the border, including RADAR, vehicle-mounted devices, sensors, unmanned cameras, and UAVs.
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This, Hurd told the Washington Free Beacon, would be both more effective and less of a drain on the taxpayer's pocket. He suggested that estimates peg the cost of the "smart wall" at around half a million dollars per mile of border, as compared against 24.5 million dollars for a 30-foot, concrete barrier. As for its effectiveness, Hurd argues that the vast expanses surrounding the border mean that a physical border wall would, in many places, not really be all that useful.
"When a border patrol agent's response time is measured in hours to days, a wall is not a...
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