- U.S. Customs and Border Protection has asked contractors building the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border for ideas about how to make it less vulnerable to people climbing over and cutting through it, according to The Washington Post.
- This is the first time CBP officials have indicated they do not think the steel bollard design they selected from prototypes in 2017 can stop people from trying to breach the border.
- The agency gave federal contractors until June 12 to suggest anti-breach and anti-climb tools and technology to halt the problem. Smugglers have been reportedly able to break through the wall using inexpensive and easily obtainable power tools, including near San Diego, where some of the most formidable sections have been erected.
Possible proposals the CBP anticipates include cameras better set to note and capture breach attempts and “advanced paint technology” to better allow thermal sensors to recognize and detect jumpers, the article said.
"CBP recognizes that industry, other agencies and other private entities may have interesting, innovative and useful ideas that could be implemented to enhance and or improve mission essential operational deterrent capabilities related to the anti-climb/anti-cut features of the border wall and persistent impedance," reads the CBP request for information notice.
According to the Post, in San Diego there were 18 breaches of the wall in a single month last fall. Construction of double-layer fencing is mostly complete along the border there, yet people were able to break through using rotating saws and climb over with makeshift ladders. Others have used rope ladders tossed up to the top of the fence to slide down.
President Donald Trump has indicated that painting the wall black would add to the aesthetics, as well as increase the heat, making it harder to climb. Doing so, according to government estimates, would drive the border wall price up by $500 million as well as create maintenance costs. Even then, climbers could simply use gloves to protect their hands.
The CBP call for proposals also invites “private party construction” to make suggestions. We Build the Wall is one private organization that seeks to build border wall fencing on private land. The organization — led in part by former Trump advisor Steve Bannon — has completed two stretches of wall in Texas, with Fisher Industries securing the land and completing the construction. We Build the Wall continues to receive contracts from the Army Corps of Engineers.
The president is expected to attend a ceremony next week to celebrate the 200th mile of the wall in Yuma, Arizona. He has promised to build 500 miles of wall by the end of the year.