Representative Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, and former CIA operative has just introduced a bill that would create a high-tech web of surveillance and sensors at America’s porous southern border. The SMART Act fills all conditions that President Trump has demanded.
Hurd’s bill, the Secure Miles with All Resources and Technology Act, (SMART Act) proposes to apply the latest 21st-century technologies to the problem of securing the southern border.
“We can’t double down on a Third Century approach to solve 21st Century problems if we want a viable long-term solution,” Hurd had said during the bill’s rollout. Instead of just a mere concrete wall marking the border, the bill would demand that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deploy advanced radar, vehicle mounted sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, and even remote camera arrays.
Hurd said that this will be more effective and less of a burden on the taxpayers than building a physical wall. He further said that the estimates for the ‘smart wall’ project would be around half a million dollars per every mile of the border as compared to the 24.5 million dollars for the 30-foot wall-border made up of concrete. As per the effectiveness, Hurd is of the stance that the enormous expenses around the wall-border at all places would be pretty useless.
“When a border patrol agent’s response time is measured in hours to days, a wall is not a physical barrier, so you’ve got to have another way in order to watch that,” he said.
Hurd’s district, Texas’s 23rd, covers a broad swath of southwestern Texas and over a third of the huge 2,000 mile border that lies between the United States and Mexico.
“I’m on the border a lot. I spend time with border patrol agent and local law enforcement and ranchers,” Hurd went on to explain.
“One of the things that you find out real quickly is, many of our men and women in border patrol, their push-to-talk radios don’t always work, because you don’t have the telephone infrastructure. Their cell phones don’t work in all these places. And when they do have some of the high-speed, low-drag cameras that can see far, it requires a PhD in computer science in order to operate it. I would have assumed that we’re utilizing some of the latest technology along the border and we’re not,” he said.
The alternative plan that Hurd suggests involves a system of high tech sensors—cameras, RADAR, LIDAR, etc.—which would provide live feed and transfer the information back to CBP. Helping to alleviate a serious blindness when it comes to managing the enormous border region.
“There is nothing right now, if the Secretary of DHS wanted to know, ‘what’s happening at this mile marker right now,’ there’s nothing there. You can’t do that! You can’t do that for every part of the border,” Hurd said.
On Thursday, President Trump tweeted, explaining his vision for The Wall, saying, “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water.”