Reuters reports on the progress of Donald Trump's Mexican wall:
Just a day after Trump's stunning election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, congressional aides told Reuters the lawmakers wanted to meet with Trump's advisers to discuss a less costly option to his "big, beautiful, powerful wall."
The plan would involve more border fencing and additional border staffing with federal agents....A House Republican aide and a Department of Homeland Security official said a wall was not realistic because it would block visibility for border agents and cut through rugged terrain, as well as bodies of water and private land.
So Congress doesn't want it because it would cost too much, and DHS doesn't want it because agents prefer being able to see the other side. And Mexico, of course, continues to laugh at the idea that they will pay for it. Then there's this comparison to the concrete wall Israel has built along the border with the West Bank:
Its main goal is to stop terrorists from detonating themselves in restaurants and cafes and buses in the cities and towns of central Israel....The rules of engagement were written accordingly. If someone trying to cross the fence in the middle of the night is presumed to be a terrorist, there's no need to hesitate before shooting. To kill.
In other words, a wall can be effective. But it's expensive to build, and it needs lots of expensive guard towers staffed by lots of expensive and ruthless guards or else it probably won't work very well. I'm not sure the American public is up for that.
UPDATE: Via email, reader SB adds this:
It's worth noting in this context that the Israeli army doesn't like the wall at all, and wherever they can they build a fence instead—not because it's cheaper, but because the fence is more effective (it offers defense-in-depth as well as the ability to see through it). They only build concrete walls through urban areas where they can't get the space for a fence (which requires 50 meters), or when a court forces them to (because local residents have sued to retain access to their land). So even in the West Bank walls don't work as well as fences.