You gotta hand it to the Mexican drug smugglers—they are definitely innovative. President Trump continues to vow to build the wall along the 1,100-mile U.S. – Mexican border, and the smugglers are already preparing for it. Over half the border’s length is already protected by fencing, and it appears the drug lords are using it to practice for the larger Trumpesque wall.
In February, border patrol agents noticed several people congregating on the Mexican side of the border in southern Arizona near the Douglas port of entry. When the agents approached, the crowd scattered, and agents were surprised to find a catapult attached to the Mexican side of the border fence. Although fairly crude in design, the catapult did its job, because when agents searched the area, they found two bundles of marijuana totaling nearly 50 pounds. The agents removed the catapult system and it was quickly seized by Mexican authorities.
The catapult incident is not the first time that border patrol agents have seen interesting contraptions at work. In December 2016, smugglers were caught using a high-powered air cannon to shoot a 30 pound drug bundle over the border near Naco, Arizona. American authorities also discovered a 380-meter long tunnel that ran from a restaurant in Mexico to a house in California! Suspected smugglers were even caught putting a car ramp over the wall and driving a Jeep over the US border fence (news flash–their car got stuck, they ditched the car, and they fled back to Mexico.) Just last month, in January, officers in Pharr, Texas seized over $750,000 worth of marijuana hidden in a shipment of key limes. Get this—the limes were fake, and thanks to thermal imaging and the K-9 narcotics units, the shipment of nearly 4,000 pounds or marijuana was discovered. And last but not least, there are tech nerd drug dealers who use drones to fly over the border and drop drugs on the US side.
Yet President Trump remains undeterred by it all. His first act, in January, was to sign an executive order to begin preliminary steps toward building the wall. The Trump administration has been brainstorming with contractors on how to build the wall. Trump vows it is the first step towards fulfilling his campaign promise to protect the country’s borders by diminishing or stopping illegal immigration. Trump is right on schedule—in fact, he bragged that he is ahead of schedule. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency issued a preliminary request for proposals (RFP) on February 24, and says the final RFP to design and build several prototype walls will be ready in less than two weeks. Trump is on a lightning-fast track when it comes to government proposals, which have a tendency to move excruciatingly slow. He wants preliminary designs by March 10, and by March 24, wants proposals with pricing from those teams that advance after the preliminary round. Trump anticipates multiple award contracts by mid-April.
The New America Foundation has estimated the cost of the wall to be $38 billion; it would span the 1,100-mile distance, be made of concrete, and would be 50 feet high, with 10 feet buried below the ground. Some experts have estimated the border wall could end up being almost 2,000 miles long, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.
We’ll all sit back and relax, and watch the show to see if, when and how the wall is built. Maybe we’ll even sit back and enjoy a piece of pie during the whole process, but it probably shouldn’t be a key lime pie!