The Slatest

Smugglers Are Using $100 Hardware Store Power Tools to Saw Holes in Trump’s $10 Billion Wall

A recently installed "big beautiful" wall near Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
A recently installed “big beautiful” wall near Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
PAUL RATJE/Getty Images

Donald Trump wanted a wall because his brain can only spit out simple solutions to complex problems. So, away America went building a “big beautiful wall” on the southern border, which amounted to plastering a steel and cement bandage on a broken bone. There are real solutions, hard solutions, to balancing effective border security and our collective humanity, but let’s build a thousand-mile wall through the desert for billions and billions of dollars instead. Why? “Walls work,” they said. So did fax machines.

Turns out, the wall is working about as well as can be expected, which is not that well. The Washington Post reports that smugglers have basically modified your standard issue cordless power tool that you could find at your local hardware store to saw through the new portions of the wall in just minutes. Border agents told the Post that after the smugglers slice through the barrier’s steel-and-concrete bollards, they are able to push the steel through, creating a passageway big enough to fit humans and drugs.

“Because the bollards are so tall—and are attached only to a panel at the very top—their length makes them easier to push aside once they have been cut and are left dangling,” engineers consulted by the Post said. The smugglers are then able to replace the cut out portion of the bollard in order to avoid detection, allowing them to reuse the hole. Almost, you know, like that ancient foil of walls everywhere: a door.

Border officials say some of these intrusions have occurred in areas where electronic sensors designed to detect vibrations from sawing have not yet been installed. Border agents have taken to scanning for chinks in the wall and kicking it with their boots. These same officials also point out that “the wall” was never intended to be the only line of defense, that well-funded crime syndicates adapt. “The smuggling crews have been using other techniques, such as building makeshift ladders to scale and overtop the barriers, especially in the popular smuggling areas in and around San Diego,” nearly a dozen U.S. agents and current and former administration officials told the Post. Ladders, you say. You might be wondering: why haven’t we adapted? Walls are easy to explain.

Mexico really should have paid for a better wall.