Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee are taking the words of border agents at face value and it’s a tad inconvenient. Democratic Senators surveyed documents from last year detailing what exactly border patrol agents said would be good solutions to increasing security on the southern border. As it turns out, Donald Trump’s border wall was extraordinarily low on their list of priorities. The New York Times writes:
The report was based on internal Customs and Border Protection documents from the 2017 fiscal year. It concluded that less than one half of 1 percent of the agents’ suggestions to secure the Southwest border mentioned the need for a wall.
The documents show that the Border Patrol identified what it called 902 “capability gaps,” or vulnerabilities, on the Southwest border. The word “wall” was suggested as a possible solution for just three of those gaps.
Agents mentioned a “fence” or “fencing” as a possible solution 34 times — less than 4 percent of the 902 vulnerabilities identified, the report found.
The congressional report hasn’t been received well by Customs and Border Protection, which says agents were identifying problems and not necessarily proposing solutions.
“The U.S. Border Patrol has been very clear that a border wall is essential to gaining operational control of the Southwest border,” said Benjamine Huffman, the chief of the Border Patrol’s strategic plan and analysis directorate.
As “essential” as it might be, the border wall will likely have to wait because the funding bill that just passed the House includes nearly $1.6 billion for border security—none of it directed at building Trump’s precious border wall.