Currently, a lack of adequate technology makes it remarkably difficult for the U.S. Border Patrol to get an early warning of just what type of threat such incidents represent, despite an extensive network of video cameras and unattended ground sensors.
That is why the House Homeland Security Committee's passage of a $10 billion border security bill last week is an important first step in plugging porous frontier areas without breaking the budget. Although Democrats were quick to skewer the Republican-backed bill as an empty gesture to please President Trump, the language of the committee's bill rejects Trump's grandiose campaign pledge of a "big, beautiful" wall stretching from coast to coast.In doing so, it is part of a growing consensus within U.S. government agencies that the wall needs to be "smart" — a hybrid of physical and technological barriers that give Border Patrol agents far better awareness of threats than they currently have.
The bill from Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) states that a physical wall should be built only "where practical and effective." It also includes sensible suggestions by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), the member with the largest border district in Congress, that the wall infrastructure should include the deployment of radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology and other sensors.