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Trump on Report of Smugglers Sawing Wall: 'It's Easily Fixed'

'Virtually impenetrable' wall is apparently no match for a $100 reciprocating saw, per reports
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2019 10:35 AM CST
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In this July 17, 2019, file photo, three migrants who had managed to evade the Mexican National Guard and cross the Rio Grande onto US territory walk along a border wall set back from the geographical border in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

(Newser) – President Trump has boasted that new sections of border wall are "virtually impossible" to climb—a claim that one engineer recently put to the test, with the results not exactly backing up the president. Now, a new issue has cropped up, with US agents and current and former administration officials telling the Washington Post that, in recent months, members of Mexican drug gangs have attempted to go through the wall, rather than over the top. So how are they circumventing the steel-and-concrete structure? Supposedly, by using $100 reciprocating saws fitted with special blades that can cut through what Trump has termed the "virtually impenetrable" materials. Agents and engineers tell the Post that the vertical posts (aka bollards) of the fence can be cut at the base within minutes, leaving them hanging and easily able to be pushed out of the way—leaving enough room for people and drug packages to slip through.

It's not clear how many times this has happened, nor is it official where; one senior administration official says it has only been "a few instances," and that overall, new barrier fencing in Customs and Border Protection's El Centro and San Diego sectors have "significantly increased security and deterrence." After the report of the smugglers' sawing broke, Trump didn't deny it, but downplayed it to reporters. "We have a very powerful wall," he said Saturday, per Politico. "But no matter how powerful, you can cut through anything, in all fairness. But we have a lot of people watching. You know cutting—cutting is one thing, but it's easily fixed. ... You put the chunk back in." Vox notes this news is "unsurprising," as NBC News reported earlier this year that DHS testing done in 2017 on multiple wall prototypes showed they were all vulnerable to breaches, including by cutting through the steel slats. (Read more border wall stories.)

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