The Slatest

Could There Be a Slower Response to an Actual “Invasion” at the Border Than Laboriously Building a 1,000-Mile Wall?

Protesters by the White House fence hold illuminated letters spelling out the words FAKE CRISIS.
Protesters outside the White House on Tuesday night. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Let’s stipulate that there actually has recently been a dramatic and threatening increase, as Donald Trump claims, in the number of gang members, terrorists, and drug smugglers passing undetected across the U.S.-Mexico border in unprotected parts of the desert. There hasn’t been, but let’s be generous stipulators. Then let’s take a step back to ask: Even if everything Trump says about this “invasion“-level influx of criminals is true, could there be any slower and less urgent response to it than approving partial funding to eventually erect a 700-to-900 mile wall that will have to be built, after a complicated process of land acquisition, through remote wilderness?


In fact, there could be, and Slate has exclusively obtained a list of some of those options in the form of a secret memo that the Department of Homeland Security has submitted to the president laying out other possible approaches to what’s happening at the border. They are:


• Pouring thick, viscous maple syrup on it

• Having one person (“Homeland Security Bill”) dig a big trench along its length using a toy shovel from a sandbox and then turning that trench into a moat by filling it with water using a garden hose

• Positioning a tough-looking biker-type person (“Homeland Security T-Bone”) to stand by it with a look that says “don’t mess with this border”

• [Handwritten note that just says “Tectonic plates???”]

• [Drawing of a dinosaur labeled “Border Dinosaur”]

Sources indicate the president is currently leaning toward the last option. Interesting! In any case, this is very secret stuff. Don’t show it to our enemies!

(If you made it through this post, first of all I’m sorry, and second here is a list of actual border-policy proposals that could plausibly pass Congress and have a relatively immediate impact on security conditions.)