When I first saw this headline from the Sacramento Bee, I got something of a sinking feeling. “Smugglers cut a truck-sized hole to drive 16 through US-Mexico border wall, feds say.” That was a depressing bit of news. I mean, we all knew that the new border wall design wasn’t going to be 100% impervious to attack and, in fact, somebody already cut a small hole in one section to pass drugs through.
But a hole big enough to literally drive a truck through? That’s bad news. Except for one problem. This wasn’t one of the new sections of border wall.
Sixteen people were arrested Wednesday in what federal officials described as a “brazen” smuggling attempt that involved cutting a section of the border wall in Southern California.
A white Dodge utility truck drove across the United States-Mexico border around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday after human smugglers cut a hole in the “old landing mat border wall” near Campo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said in a news release on Thursday.
Then, around 4 p.m., agents spotted a man with a truck that matched that description using bolt cutters to cut a lock on a local’s private gate, according to federal officials.
So the place where they cut through wasn’t one of the recently built or replaced sections. Located near Campo, California, this section is of the type known as a landing mat barrier, one of the oldest still in use. You can see a couple of good pictures of it at this NY Post article. It’s made of relatively thin corrugated tin or steel. Popular Mechanics describes the technology as “Obsolete, in need of replacement,” going on to say that “cutting a hole in the Landing Mat with a power saw is a relatively easy job.”
The new sections of wall going up are composed of heavy steel bollards, with gaps allowing the Border Patrol to see through them an monitor what’s happening on the other side. And while determined smugglers have been able to cut small holes, it takes a lot more work. Also, the wall won’t be at full effectiveness until all of the new electronic monitoring technology is in place. The combination of surveillance and taller, tougher walls will cut way back on illegal crossings and trafficking.
Speaking of trafficking, the human smuggler bringing sixteen illegal aliens over the border in this story still didn’t manage to achieve his goals. Alert Border Patrol Agents spotted the smuggler and his human cargo not far from the border. They gave chase, with all of the occupants eventually abandoning the vehicle and fleeing on foot. All of them were chased down and they are now in custody, awaiting processing and either prosecution or deportation. (Or both.)
Let’s not get in a panic over the wall. Despite the Democrats’ best efforts to stop it, the new sections of wall are growing and the border is becoming more secure. And nobody will be cutting holes big enough to drive through once it’s finished.