President Trump’s plan for a wall along the Southwest border has been billed as the ultimate blockade to the future trafficking of drugs and illegal immigrants from Mexico. Yet local law enforcement authorities who patrol the rugged 2,100-mile expanse, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the tip of south Texas, aren’t buying it, USA Today reports. Leaders of the Southwestern Border Sheriffs’ Coalition, whose jurisdictions span four states, said the administration has failed to consider complex economic, environmental and cultural conditions inherent to the border that make such a massive undertaking “impractical.’’ “The wall is not the answer,’’ said Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez, the coalition’s president, whose Texas county includes 84 miles of border with Mexico.
Martinez said little attention has been paid to the acquisition of privately held land to accommodate a wall, which Trump has pledged to set in motion in a matter of months. Mexico’s refusal to pay for the construction, a condition that was central to Trump’s campaign, has raised new questions about how the multibillion-dollar project will be financed. It also prompted the first diplomatic crisis of the new administration when Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled an upcoming visit with the new American president. “Regardless of who pays for it, building a wall on the border is likely going to put U.S. citizens and their property on the (Mexican) side of this thing,” Martinez said, indicating that significant pieces of land on the U.S. side of the border will be needed for construction. “You can’t just build on top of the Rio Grande River (the natural border between large swaths of Texas and Mexico). That is not a solution.” Martinez said more effective border security is better achieved with the deployment of additional federal agents and surveillance technology.