Trump promised on the campaign trail in 2016 to build an “impenetrable wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border, but a new report from NBC News showed that during a Department of Homeland Security test, steel slats were easily cut through with a saw in one of the wall prototypes that the president reviewed in March 2018.
A DHS photo obtained exclusively by NBC News showed the damage to the “steel slat” barrier being pushed by the president as the partial government shutdown drags into its 20th day.
The photo, taken in late 2017, was detailed in an internal February 2018 report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Dept. of Homeland Security testing of a steel slat prototype for border wall proved it could be cut through with a saw, according to a report by DHS.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 10, 2019
NBC News reports that the steel slats were damaged after “military and Border Patrol experts were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools.”
On Sunday, Trump said he now prefers a “Steel Barrier rather than concrete” because it is “stronger” and “less obtrusive.”
In 2017, Trump indicated he favored a design where border officials would be able to see what was on the other side of a border barrier.
“You have to be able to see through it,” he explained. “In other words, if you can’t see through that wall—so it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what’s on the other side of the wall.”
“As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them—they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over,” he added. “As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs.”
Pictures he has shared on social media of his concept resemble the steel bollard fencing already in use along much of the southern border.
A Customs and Border Protection report obtained by San Diego public broadcasting station KPBS through a Freedom of Information Act request showed that all of the prototypes could be breached in one way or another.
CBP spokesman Ralph DeSio told KPBS that the wall prototypes “were not and cannot be designed to be indestructible.” He said the idea was to “impede or deny efforts to scale, breach, or dig under such a barrier, giving agents time to respond.”