Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Border congressmen propose ‘smart wall’

As a debate raged in Congress over funding a border wall, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd and a half-dozen allies on Thursday introduced an all-new proposal for a “smart wall” that draws on virtual reality research in Silicon Valley. Hurd, R-Helotes, Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and several other House members began a push for what they call the Secure Miles with All Resources and Technology Act. The lawmakers say a smart wall built under the SMART Act would cost around $500,000 a mile. Physical barriers are estimated to cost $25 million per mile. Hurd’s legislation calls for high-tech security solutions that include sensors, radar, lidar (light detection and ranging) and fiber optics, along with drones and cameras. “I think most Americans believe we’re using some of the latest technologies along the border. We’re not,” he said. In a raucous session Thursday, the Republican-led House, after deploying a procedural maneuver that avoided an up-or-down vote on the wall funding alone, passed a broad spending bill that includes $1.6 billion for 74 miles of border wall construction. The likelihood of fierce opposition in the Senate, where Democrats kept wall funding out of spending legislation earlier this year, could pave the way for a less costly, bipartisan compromise like Hurd’s. Hurd, who has been among GOP critics of building a contiguous, physical wall, said in an interview he believes his legislation could emerge as a solution to an impasse in Congress that shows no signs of abating...more

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