September 1, 2016

If we build a wall, we need to defend against tunnels.

The NYT article has an article today: "As Donald Trump Calls for Wall on Mexican Border, Smugglers Dig Tunnels." But Trump's speech last night did address the tunnel problem:
On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border. We will use the best technology, including above-and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels, and keep out the criminal cartels, and Mexico will pay for the wall.
The Times article acknowledges this part of the speech, but says that "no technology exists to reliably detect the tunnels, and experts say it may be years before such a system is developed."
Technological advances such as ground radar to detect movement, hundreds of high-tech cameras with night-vision lenses and drones flying overhead have drastically transformed border security.... The American government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into research in hopes of finding a way to detect tunnels, but most of these efforts have ended in disappointment....

Part of the problem in detecting tunnels, say experts like Paul Bauman, a Canadian geophysicist, is the ground itself.... With underground cracks, water tables, tree roots and caves, it is hard to tell what is and is not a tunnel, he said....

“For every tunnel we find, we feel they’re building another one somewhere, and they might get more creative in concealing it,” he said. “Next year, I could find 10. Until there is some device on the market to help us accurately detect them, we just won’t know.”
Tunnel detection is something we need to do — whatever you think of Trump's wall. I don't like the tone of defeatism, if that's what this is. You might be politically opposed to Trump and want to say his wall won't work because there will be tunnels, but whatever you think of illegal immigration, there's a drug crime problem that must be dealt with.

Here's an article in The New Yorker from last year about the building of tunnels: "UNDERWORLD: How the Sinaloa drug cartel digs its tunnels." Excerpt:

Across Tijuana, at bus stations and on busy street corners, [young men] were lured to the warehouse by the prospect of temporary jobs.... Most were laborers from Mexico’s rural interior who had travelled north seeking opportunity.....

Carlos [the overseer] split the men into two groups. Fernando worked the day shift, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; at night, he slept in the warehouse with the rest of his crew. Carlos brought the workers food and made sure no one left the building....

Most of the time, five or six men worked inside the chamber, lengthening it into a tunnel by chipping away at the earth with handheld electric spades and filling sandbags with dirt and rocks. Three other workers hauled the bags out using a makeshift elevator—a large metal cage connected to an electric pulley system. The sandbags were then piled onto wooden pallets in the loading bay. Occasionally, Carlos was joined by other overseers, who wore ski masks. They’d threaten to beat the workmen if their northward progress slowed. The workers gained about five metres a day....

The walls retained their form as the men worked, but threats were ever present. The history of subterranean excavation, from the ancient Egyptians to the coal miners of Appalachia, is dense with tragedy—any strike of a pickaxe can release a deadly rush of groundwater, spark a methane fireball, or disrupt the soil enough to cause a collapse....

Joseph DiMeglio, the head of the Tunnel Task Force, told me that, when a tunnel is finished, diggers are sometimes recaptured and forced to work on another project. Other times, he said, “the cartel takes them out back, you know, and gets rid of them.”

99 comments:

buwaya said...

Digging tunnels long and deep enough to work requires investment.
Investments require returns.
The return on drugs is huge (that why the smuggling and dealing is worth the trouble and risk), but moving illegal immigrants is nowhere near as remunerative.

Also, every barrier is simply a way to make overcoming it more difficult, more costly. This reduces the propensity to attempt to overcome it. A wall of this sort does not need to be absolutely impermeable to be effective for its purposes.
If it cuts down the rate by even 30% (just throwing out a number) it would be a success, as that will certainly be felt in labor markets.
Perfection is not necessary.

Fabi said...

We have ground penetrating radar and have for years. What the fuck is the NYT whining about?

Karen of Texas said...

Seems like a great business opportunity - an accurate way to detect *movement* underground. The tunnel may escape notice, but surely there is a way to detect movement.

And there is also the not so nice possibility of periodically causing ground tremors that would collapse tunnels. Naturally the wall would have to be built to take the shaking and collapsing in to account - but there are some very intelligent people in the world.

I don't like the defeatist attitude either. Think outside the box, people. And it might take a "shaking and collapsing" a few times, but I think the tunnel digging might just at least slow way down, yes?

Darrell said...

What about a neutron beam aimed at the ground, NYT? And hunter-killer drones. We'll source the design to an Israeli firm, so we'll have it all covered.

HT said...

Reliance on illegal immigration by many businesses is where Trump will find a lot of support. The notion that "Americans won't do those jobs" is defeatist and for many self-fulfilling (make any job shameful enough, and it will come to pass).

Drugs and illegal immigration may be a problem, but I wouldn't think it's a bigger problem.

khematite said...

The Israelis seem to be making some pretty significant advances in this realm of technology:

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/ANALYSIS-Tunnel-detection-techniques-limiting-Hamass-attack-options-451661

Yancey Ward said...

I personally don't believe in the need for a wall, but these sorts of arguments are going to backfire on Clinton and her supporters because they sound exactly like what they are- excuses for doing nothing at all to improve border security. This in The Times is almost the weakest tea you can brew.

jimbino said...

Even I could design a simple seismograph that would detect the disturbance caused by the digging of a tunnel.

Michael The Magnificent said...

The perfect is the enemy of the good enough.

Build the wall. We can address the imperfections of the solution as the wall is being built.

rcocean said...

Yeah, you just can't keep millions from pouring over the border. Resistance is useless.

I mean Tunnels. Who ever thought of that? They can't be stopped. Why its not like we have sensors or anyone would notice people coming out of hole in the ground by the millions.

And somehow the Israeli fence "Seems" to work. But of course, it doesn't because of tunnels. Same thing with the Berlin Wall - it stopped no one because of tunnels.

Virgil Hilts said...

Forget about tunnelers from Mexico. We need to (reluctantly) shift our focus to those voluptuous young women in bikinis from Canada who smuggle drugs while on world Instagram tours.

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/m/f7baf315-5de6-376d-87c1-c56b056a3f60/ss_women-charged-over-%2430.html

rcocean said...

I mean its not like recon drones or aircraft, or satellites would notice people in Mexico arriving with a lot of earth moving equipment, and then hauling away a lot of dirt, and then a hole popping up out of nowhere, and then people coming out of it.

Not mention motion sensors that would detect noise under the earth.

rcocean said...

But I agree with the concern trolls at the NYT. We shouldn't do ANYTHING to control the border unless we can stop every, single, illegal from EVER coming across the border illegally.

Its like I always say. Why are we arresting people for homicide when we get 15,000 murders a year, year after year? Obviously, arresting people for murder won't solve the problem.

We need to stop wasting time on prosecuting people for murder. Or trying to control our border.

Ann Althouse said...

@rcocean

Read the New Yorker article

They begin and end inside buildings and the digging can be 70 feet below ground.

Sebastian said...

"Tunnel detection is something we need to do — whatever you think of Trump's wall." Right. So we need to stop drugs but not people? Selective enforcement of the law is the real defeatism.

@rc: "I mean its not like recon drones or aircraft, or satellites would notice people in Mexico arriving with a lot of earth moving equipment, and then hauling away a lot of dirt, and then a hole popping up out of nowhere, and then people coming out of it." Right. Hence no wall. Tech can monitor the whole border -- if you want it to.

Hagar said...

Trump's "Mexico will pay for the wall" can also be read as a threat to use all available means to block capital from moving to Mexico from the U.S. if Mexico does not get serious about helping out with the border problem.

Bob Ellison said...

I'm more worried about teleportation. Word on the street is they've got a major teleport platform up and running already on the Yucatan peninsula. Pretty soon they'll be planting people on your roof. You'll shout "Get down from there!", but they don't understand English, so that won't work.

D. said...

>They begin and end inside buildings and the digging can be 70 feet below ground.<

vertical minefields at the border

Kevin said...

A wall or fence doesn't have to stop 100% to be effective. Israel implemented an effective border fence that has diminished its suicide bomber infiltration to almost zero.

It is difficult to smuggle human beings compared to drugs, guns or other contraband. They require food, water, air to breathe, have to relieve themselves periodically, can't be kept in hidden compartments for days on end, weigh 150 lbs on average and take up a lot of space.

If we can reduce the 500,00 illegal border crossers by 95% to (say) 25,000 per year, then the illegal immigration problem is greatly reduced. At that point, the public will be willing to be more generous with the illegals already in the country, especially if criminal aliens are deported.

SteveR said...

Did any one ask Israel?

rhhardin said...

Sound detects tunnels. A sensor every so often makes a nice antenna array which will not only detect the tunnel but localize it for you.

Michael Fitzgerald said...


"If we build a wall, we need to defend against tunnels."

And there must not be a mine-shaft gap!

Joe said...

What didn't happen in 1962

"We'll put man on the moon."

(In whiny voice) "But we don't have the technology and it's really hard."

"Okay."

Joe said...

"Part of the problem in detecting tunnels, say experts like Paul Bauman, a Canadian geophysicist, is the ground itself.... With underground cracks, water tables, tree roots and caves, it is hard to tell what is and is not a tunnel, he said...."

That's why you take measurements now and then look for differences, you incompetent non-expert of a jackass. What a tool.

D. said...

also vertical seismographs. engineering problems are fun.

Jupiter said...

"You might be politically opposed to Trump and want to say his wall won't work because there will be tunnels, but whatever you think of illegal immigration, there's a drug crime problem that must be dealt with."

Given the potential profits, it is probably not possible to stop drug smugglers from digging 70 feet straight down under a house, then digging a half-mile tunnel to come up under a house on this side. But no one is going to spend that much to smuggle people, when they can just fly in on a tourist visa.

On the other hand, while it is probably not possible to significantly reduce the demand for drugs, it would be a simple matter to reduce the demand for illegal inhabitation, by enforcing the laws against hiring illegal aliens.

buwaya said...

"I'm more worried about teleportation. Word on the street is they've got a major teleport platform up and running already on the Yucatan peninsula. Pretty soon they'll be planting people on your roof. You'll shout "Get down from there!", but they don't understand English, so that won't work."

This is a magic-realist fantasy short-story right there.
Add stranded Mayans on the roof cursing the clueless suburban householders with the wrath of the maize-God and you have a movie concept. Better than most recently.
"The Mexican on the Roof" - working title

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Think outside the box, people."

You just heavily influenced me to think inside the box using that cliché.

Thank you; it's just what the doctor ordered for me.

BDNYC said...

I don't support building a wall along the border, but I can acknowledge this argument against it is bullshit. The wall imposes a cost and a burden on others. It's undeniable. Building a tunnel isn't so cheap and easy, especially if there are sensors and an increased border patrol presence.

D. said...

also tunnels only work near urbanized areas. out in the middle of nowhere it is going to be hard to hide the mining activity.

rhhardin said...

Beccy Cole I shook hands with a digger, the anti-Dixie Chicks tribute to Australian soldiers.

Howard said...

Seismic Detection of Tunnels

GPR Detection of Tunnels

khesanh0802 said...

The non-technical answer to finding tunnels is to get off your ass and run some patrols in the areas where tunnels are prevalent. I would be willing to bet that if you sent out Marine squad size patrols on a regular basis with fairly loose rule of engagement you would solve the tunnel problem quickly. Hell, get permission from Mexico to patrol where the tunnels start. That would be cheaper for them than paying for the wall. With a little will and leadership the tunnel problem could be cleared up in a few months. Let me stress those two requisites: WILL and LEADERSHIP. So far we have had little of either.

khesanh0802 said...

And why don't we at least ask the Israelis what they know about tunnels?

Michael said...

You may not be able to detect tunnels, but you should be able to detect the activity at the head end when they are being constructed. There has to be a lot of people hauling a lot of dirt on the Mexican side. An occasional Hellfire missile up the head end would discourage that kind of activity. Of course, there would have to be a deal with Mexico, but they're not too fond of the cartels either.

Bob Loblaw said...

Yeah, you just can't keep millions from pouring over the border. Resistance is useless.

It's really depressing to see the heirs of a society that built the Panama Canal throw up their hands and declare it's impossible to build... a wall. A fence. Something poorer and less technologically advanced societies have been doing for many thousands of years.

Why am I paying taxes? If the government is there to employ people to do nothing, let's get rid of it.

rcocean said...

Althouse:

The bottom line is that if tunneling was so unstoppable, the Berlin Wall would have been useless. It wasn't. Sensors can easily detect any digging activity. Tunnels have to end within a reasonable distance of the border, say a mile. Large numbers of people coming in and out of "Buildings" on either side of the border are easily detected. If someone is paying attention.

Walls prevent people from walking/biking/driving/doing cartwheels across a border. It forces them to dig tunnels. It allows the border patrol to focus its resources on tunnels, since the wall will stop or detect anyone else coming over.

Will it stop every, single person, ever, ever? No. It will stop 95% - which is better than 0% or 10%.

machine said...

...but what about utilizing his bobby pin technology to hold back the hun?

rcocean said...

Both sides in WW1 were able to detect tunnels being dug to plant explosives under them (yeah, sometimes they missed it). The Germans detected escape tunnels in their various Stalags in WW 2.

And they didn't have electronic sensors.

All that BS about how, "oh it could be seismic activity" - yeah right. Yeah, the seismic activity, starts within a mile of the borders then ends there, and goes on from 9-5 every day, and then stops, and then large number of illegals pop out of nowhere. Yeah, who could figure that out?

Crazy Jane said...

The drug cartels started building tunnels to move marijuana into the U.S. Now that marijuana is more or less decriminalized, the cartels are moving smaller, more profitable (and deadly) loads of heroin and fentanyl through their tunnels. There is every incentive to build more.

The tunnels are engineered for strength, lighting and air access. If we were smart, we'd give green cards to the tunnel engineers who promised to help us hunt down their employers and, then, to design the next, needed tunnel under the Hudson between NJ and NY.

glenn said...

Re:

Tunnel detection. Liberals don't want too. They run the big cities where drugs are rampant. Drugs beget cash. Cash flows to politicians, especially Democrats. Democrats want to protect the cash. That's why they protect the tunnels.

MadisonMan said...

and experts say

I'm sure the Times worked hard to find an expert who could not back up Trump's ideas.

AprilApple said...

The Times article acknowledges this part of the speech, but says that "no technology exists to reliably detect the tunnels, and experts say it may be years before such a system is developed."


I call media bullshit.

mockturtle said...

So much defeatist rhetoric! One thing I really like about Trump is his 'can-do' attitude. Of course we can solve these problems! I shudder to think of what would happen if we had a military invasion. People would just surrender without even trying. Pitiful.

LarsPorsena said...

I don't know why banks keep money in vaults. Somebody can just crack them.
I don't know why the Times has looks on its office doors. Somebody can just break them.

D. said...

>So much defeatist rhetoric!<

we should have a "burning straw it festival"

Original Mike said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said..."@rcocean

Read the New Yorker article

They begin and end inside buildings and the digging can be 70 feet below ground."


I believe @rcocean addressed this prophylactically: "And somehow the Israeli fence "Seems" to work. But of course, it doesn't because of tunnels. Same thing with the Berlin Wall - it stopped no one because of tunnels."

eric said...

This reminds me of when Bush was president and we kept saying we should dig for oil in ANWR. And pretty soon the Republican mantra was "All of the above" which meant dig for oil, tracking, natural gas, solar, wind, etc.

The Democrats response? If we started today it'd be 10 years before we saw any of the oil. In other words, if it isn't an answer that helps us now, then why bother?

Seems to me that the Democrats have become the Conservatives over the years.

They are always fighting for the status quo.

MikeD said...

Jeez, just ask the Israelis, untold Hamas a--holes have been buried alive in their cross border excursions! Of course our current Administration offers showers to tunnel migrants as they mule like bring what the Chicago ghetto wants/kills for!

Original Mike said...

"Seems to me that the Democrats have become the Conservatives over the years."

I'd say children. Children don't understand "tomorrow". Neither do democrats.

MikeR said...

Heh. As others pointed out, Israel's wall pretty much eliminated the problem. Multiply the cost of Israel's wall by the greater length here, and it doesn't seem all that expensive either.
On certain issues, it's hard for conservatives to see the "reality-based community" as being at all attached to reality. The incredible difficulty of getting a photo ID is another such.

Original Mike said...

"If we build a wall, we need to defend against tunnels."

And tall ladders. Why didn't they mention that?

mockturtle said...

The Democrats response? If we started today it'd be 10 years before we saw any of the oil. In other words, if it isn't an answer that helps us now, then why bother?

Seems to me that the Democrats have become the Conservatives over the years.

They are always fighting for the status quo.


They are the short-term investors or even day traders. Not conservative in my book but I do get your point.

mockturtle said...

"If we build a wall, we need to defend against tunnels."

And tall ladders. Why didn't they mention that?


And pole vaulters.

John said...

Any tunnel dug with electric spades will be so high tech asto be invisible even when inside of it

Original Mike said...

"The Democrats response? If we started today it'd be 10 years before we saw any of the oil."

I remember this well. My lefty friends were all reciting it. It pissed me off. That was at least 10 years ago, but likely more like 20.

Lance said...

So we rush to pass a deeply flawed multi billion dollar health insurance law, planning to fix the problems later, if ever, but border security we have to postpone until it's perfect.

Rae said...

Just build a wall, all the way down!

Humperdink said...

"If we build a wall, we need to defend against tunnels."

And tall ladders. Why didn't they mention that?

And pole vaulters.

And trampolines. And skydivers. And Olympic high jumpers. And human catapults.

Paul said...

Israel defends against tunnels... duh...

Listen devices, seismic devices, penetrating radar, etc...

Build the dang wall and call the Israelis!

AReasonableMan said...

Althouse said ...
whatever you think of illegal immigration, there's a drug crime problem that must be dealt with


I didn't realize that there was anyone left who still bought into the rhetoric of the Drug War.

holdfast said...

Our allies Israel and South Korea have been dealing with tunnel problems for decades. They don't get all of them, but they get most and they make it very expensive for the bad guys.

Combine that with employment verification and real enforcement against employers, and that's plenty good enough.

Laslo Spatula said...

From 'The Community of Color Gazette':

"Man of Color Builds a Wall Around his Residence"

Harold Freeman, a Black Man of our Community of Color, built a wall around his residence, neighbors say.

Ms. Janine Wallace, a neighbor of Mr. Freeman, corroborated this story.

"Yeah, Harry, he built himself a wall."

When asked, Mr. Freeman admitted that he built a wall around his residence.

"Yeah, I built a wall. All my neighbors, they have chain link fences. I don't like that look, it looks ghetto. So I had some Mexicans build me a wall, it looks like orange stucco: I like it."

So why did Mr. Freeman build a wall?

"I don't like people near my house unless I invited them. The wall is only five foot high, but a lot of people today, they can't climb that none."

"A lot of people today?" Mr. Freeman?

"Oh yeah. When I was in the Army everyone could climb a five foot wall. Nowadays, they can't do shit, cause they're fat and on drugs."

When asked could people get under his wall, Mr. Freeman laughed.

"Like tunnel under? Ha! They're too fat to climb over, like they're gonna spend the energy to do themselves some digging? Fat is FAT."

When asked who he wanted to have the wall protect him from, Mr. Freeman got serious.

"Really: you serious, bitch?" he replied, ending the interview.

So there it is: a Story of Change in our Community of Color. For more stories like this please read 'The Community of Color Gazette'.

I am Laslo.

William said...

I read the New Yorker article when it first came out. The way they recruited workers for one tunnel was by kidnapping shape up laborers. Then, after the work was done, they planned to murder them. On other tunnels, there were cave ins. The workers there were buried alive. This is grisly business. It should inspire a lot more outrage, both here and especially in Mexico. There aren't that many people in the world who can plan and design a mile long tunnel......Some effort should be made to hunt down these tunnel engineers. Perhaps Sean Penn could make a movie about the kind of men who do such things and not romanticize their evil.. There are outrages greater than Trump's rhetoric or lack of transgendered bathrooms......There's a paradox. If Mexico were capable of finding and prosecuting the men who engage in such grisly business, then there would be less need for Mexicans to flee their country.

Terry said...

Blogger AReasonableMan said...

I didn't realize that there was anyone left who still bought into the rhetoric of the Drug War.

This is a poorly thought out response by ARM.
"The drug war" (whatever it means) was the result of the problem of illegal drugs. It didn't appear out of nowhere.
A lot of people think that the the results of making hard drugs illegal could not possibly be worse than legalizing drugs. These people are fucking kidding themselves.

D. said...

Talking Heads - Talking Heads: 77

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2y77QjFnuk

havel 77

>{8}Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo. It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing his job behind an alleged interest in the unification of the workers of the world, to the highest functionary, whose interest in staying in power can be cloaked in phrases about service to the working class. The primary excusatory function of ideology, therefore, is to provide people, both as victims and pillars of the post-totalitarian system, with the illusion that the system is in harmony with the human order and the order of the universe. . . .


http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/165havel.html

Mac McConnell said...

"I didn't realize that there was anyone left who still bought into the rhetoric of the Drug War."

The DOJ does.

gadfly said...

The American government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into research in hopes of finding a way to detect tunnels, but most of these efforts have ended in disappointment....

Yep, our government engineers did everything except ask the experts:

Israel to build underground concrete wall to block Hamas tunnels from Gaza. The wall will be dug to a depth of several dozen meters at a cost of around $ 2.2 billion. It was previously estimated that building such a defensive wall would cost tens of billions of shekels, however under the new plan the construction cost will be just $ 2.2 billion.

So who cares that the Philadelphi Route which provides a neutral zone (and a place to build tunnels) between Gaza and Egypt is only 8.7 miles long. $2.2 trillion is only costing about $253 million a mile. Our border with our good Mexican friends is about 2,000 miles long, so the underground barrier will be cheap at $506 trillion - mere shekels for smart folks who will be running the coming Trump regime. This incidental problem is no hill for a climber.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Dear Ann Althouse:

Just because Trump says it, doesn't mean it's newsworthy or blog-worthy.

On another note: Oh, look! A squirrel with an orange comb-over!

Made you look.

Seriously. At some point, it might behoove you to activate that part of your brain that recognizes, "Oh gee. Trump already said this a thousand times. And it wan't interesting or serious then, either."

Join humanity.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Althouse fixates on Trump so much that it makes you wonder if she's looking for a job in the MSM/mainstream media.

Mac McConnell said...

First tunnels can't be built along all of the 2,000 mile border. The soil and rock won't permit it. Most sophisticated tunnels are built because of the soil in the San Diego - Tijuana area and in most cases structures like warehouses need to be at the terminuses. I would think the sophisticated tunnels with rails, HVAC and plumbing would be easier to ferret out with technology. A tunnel thirty feet deep, eight feet wide and tall isn't going to mistaken for a tree root or drainage tunnel.

In other places along the border with sandy soil a twenty foot drilling and a stick of dynamite would collapse them.

gadfly said...

Updated information on the Gaza wall.

The costs to build the wall are estimated at approximately NIS 2.2 billion ($570 million USD). The wall will cover 60 miles of land around Gaza’s southern border. Exact measurements of how high the wall will reach above ground and how deep it will run below ground have not yet been revealed.

In any regard, we can now do in Mexicans for $19 billion. Don't you feel better already? Mexico's bill will now be so much less than we imagined. And the best part is that Trump knows concrete.

Daily Kos tells us that Trump built Trump Tower with S&A Concrete, Inc. which was owned by Anthony Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, and Paul Castellano, head of the Gambinos. This same S&A built dozens of other Trump properties. Tens of millions of dollars in contracted business.

D.E. Cloutier said...

Tunnels? No problem. Get some Mongolian death worms. They can travel underground.

Link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_death_worm

Rockeye said...

Actual living, breathing, spam at 1:40am. At least the wearing of shorts by adult, non-exercising, men wasn't advocated.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Humperdinck,
And balloonists, too! Those were used by some people to escape from East Germany!

Humperdink said...

AReasonableMan said..."I didn't realize that there was anyone left who still bought into the rhetoric of the Drug War."

I am assuming you are referring to an unwinnable war. Can we add the LBJ's 50 year, trillion $$, War on Poverty, to your list?

Coming full circle, the immigrants are swarming here to fully participate in LBJ's war - that is, to get a piece of the poverty (read:welfare) pie.

Moneyrunner said...

It won't work I tell you because experts say so ... and science ... and it's too expensive ... and racist, and Trump.

Ann Althouse said...

The NYT article DOES mention Israel. Not only are 2 of the quoted experts people who have worked with Israel on defense, bu there's this:

"In the 2016 defense authorization bill, Congress provided about $120 million for a joint Defense Department and Israel Defense Forces tunnel-detection project. Israel is among several nations, including Egypt, Jordan and South Korea, that have had major problems with hostile groups using tunnels to stage attacks. American officials hope the technology developed in Israel can aid efforts on the Mexican border. A spokeswoman for the Israeli Defense Ministry declined to comment."

tim in vermont said...

If a tunnel starts producing the volume of illegal scabs that the overland routes produce, it will be discovered. This would be a better problem than what we have now.

viator said...

Slurry wall construction is common method of building subsurface walls. A variety of sensors can be embedded in the concrete to detect sound and vibration. Subsurface walls would only be needed in crowded more urban conditions as these kinds on tunnels need to be hidden at both ends in structures.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjRh6eY1ceg

Freder Frederson said...

You all have such brilliant ideas. What you are lacking is any practical plan to pay for building such a wall along the Mexican border. And saying Mexico will pay for it is a non-starter. They ain't gonna do it. Even if you seized all remittances to Mexico (which would be impractical and of questionable legality), that doesn't mean Mexico is paying for, rather Mexicans.

Gabriel said...

As usual, we are told that anything which cannot guarantee zero illegal immigrants is no better than nothing, ergo open borders, amnesty, non-enforcement.

@Freder Frederson:What you are lacking is any practical plan to pay for building such a wall along the Mexican border.

A wall with Mexico might run to 0.01% of the Federal budget, if it were really fancy. So we fund it with cuts of 0.01% to every other Federal department.

Happy?

No.

Gabriel said...

Mexico has a wall on its southern border, incidentally.

Anglelyne said...

"Defeatist"? There's nothing defeatist about it. People wailing about the impossibility of controlling migrant flows (or hiring lackeys to do their wailing for them) don't want migrant flows controlled.

And they're playing to win.

Gabriel said...

@Gadfly:Our border with our good Mexican friends is about 2,000 miles long, so the underground barrier will be cheap at $506 trillion

Not every part of the border fence would have to be built to that specification. Probably very little of it.

The same fallacy as before, that any wall who lets any illegal in ever is no better than no wall. No human being lives their lives this way.

Can't stop all the speeders, we shouldn't enforce speed limits. Can't stop all the murders, murder should be legal. Can't design a car that can protect 100% of passengers in 100% of collisions, so repeal all auto safety standards. Can't stop all insider trading, let's abolish the SEC.

Diminishing returns and margins are ideas we all understand, but some of us pretend, selectively, not to.

A border fence does not have to be perfect. It has to just be worth the money. A $500 trillion fence would not be worth the money, even if it stopped 100% of illegals. A $50 million fence would deter, let's say, 5% of illegals at 0.00001% of the cost. The optimal wall lies between those extremes, much closer to the $50 million fence.

This is not hard to understand, for those without selective protective stupidity.

MikeR said...

@gadfly's comments on the Israeli wall. Probably better to stick to the second comment, as the first one seems to have some serious multiplication mistakes and a confusion of a billion and a trillion.
Anyhow, the second one yields a cost of $19 billion. That doesn't seem unreasonable, a rounding error in the budget. I'd take it out of Defense, since this seems to me to be part of our nation's security. But if someone wants to defund pretty much any other part of the federal government to pay for it I'm good with that.
Gadfly, did it bother you to "update" your original scoffing comment with one that implies exactly the opposite result, pretend that nothing had changed, and hope that no one would notice?

Meade said...

@Gabriel,
Have you seen the wall on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala? Did you take pictures?

Unknown said...

You know, during the battle of vienna, when the Muslim hordes were trying to get into the walled city, there was a great deal of tunnelling/countertunnelling.

The city held, thanks to the King of Poland.

Somehow, I suspect we have evolved some technology since we had to kill Muslim invaders with a few thousand men on horseback. I suspect that if the army defending Vienna could detect tunnels, we can.

For a more.... permanent solution, why not just build a deep moat? Dig a trench say 200 feet deep, line it with clay, fill it with water, and stick the wall on the US side of the trench. 40 foot wide trench. Gonna be hard to tunnel under that! And when you do detect a tunnel, just pop a hole in the top and let the moat drain into it. After a couple of times of tunnels flooding and killing anyone inside it; no more tunnels.

--Vance

Freder Frederson said...

A wall with Mexico might run to 0.01% of the Federal budget, if it were really fancy. So we fund it with cuts of 0.01% to every other Federal department.



Not if you add all the bells and whistles suggested in this thread. Even if you could make the wall impenetrable, that only solves half the problem. Just ask Melania Trump, she didn't come across the Mexican border when she was working illegally in this country.

There is no way that Trump's estimate of the cost of the wall is anywhere near reality.

Michael Edward McNeil said...

There are not 32 ounces in a “key” (kilogram).

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Soooo ... Trump says that Mexico sends us drug smugglers and murderers, and that's racist. But the NYT says that the Sinaloa Cartel is busy with tunneling, and even the NYT can't say that the Sinaloa Cartel isn't made up of drug smugglers and murderers. There are all those mass beheadings, for one.

So which is it?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Original Mike,

Same thing with the Berlin Wall - it stopped no one because of tunnels.

This obviously explains why so many people attempted to run/parachute/hang-glide across the surface. Generally getting shot. Gee, why didn't they just use the clearly-marked-on-the-map tunnels?

Peter said...

When considering Hamas' use of tunnels to infiltrate terrorists into Israel, it is perhaps relevant to consider the massive resources that support this activity. Such as redirection of the enormous "humanitarian" aid to the Palestinian Authority, support from Islamist "charities," and support from terrorist-sponsoring states such as Iran.

The cost in materials and labor to build these tunnels is huge, and where is there an equivalent support for tunnels into the USA from Mexico?

Yes, the drug trade is hugely profitable, but why would drug traffickers want their costly tunnels used to smuggle illegal immigrants into the USA (thereby vastly increasing their visibility and likelihood of detection)?

In any case, a border fence, no matter how effective, can never be perfect and will be far more effective when combined with interior enforcement.

Just as cities do not need to tolerate open-air drug markets so, too, citizens need not tolerate shape-ups for day labor in Home Depot parking lots.

Enforcement will never be perfect, yet it can surely be effective without massive deportation: just make it more difficult/costly to cross the border illegally, and more difficult to work in the USA illegally.

Perhaps a place to start might be with the proposition that immigration does not exist to provide opportunities to immigrants; it exists to benefit the host country. And, if that also benefits would-be immigrants that's a bonus, but, that's not why host nations permit and sometimes encourage it.

Therefore the emphasis when discussing immigration should be on what's best for the USA, not on what's best for would-be immigrants.

Bad Lieutenant said...

gadfly,

mere shekels for smart folks who will be running the coming Trump regime.

Ohhh...you're one of those.

gadfly said...

Blogger MikeR said...

Gadfly, did it bother you to "update" your original scoffing comment with one that implies exactly the opposite result, pretend that nothing had changed, and hope that no one would notice?

It wasn't my error, MR, the first cited source carried all values as dollars and the second source showed the same amount, but converted to USD. In any regard, however, if I had miscalculated I would have told you so.

But since the Israeli solution is made from nothing but good, old-fashioned concrete, Trump gets off the hook by putting his Mafioso friends in charge and allowing them to collect from the gun-shy Mexican authorities.

tim in vermont said...

mere shekels for smart folks who will be running the coming Trump regime.

It always comes down to the JOOOOOZ, doesn't it?

Martin said...

Fine, and the City of New York should withdraw police and fire protection from the Times' building because after all, the City cannot totally, 100.00000% guarantee that those services will always be able to head off any and all damage from crime or fire or someone needing a paramedic, so why even try? If that creates a problem for the Times, as in it's unable to purchase property or liability insurance or their workers are concerned, well, that's just tough.

James Pawlak said...

Do not reveal id of tunnels; But, fill them with rattlesnakes.

Rusty said...


"There is no way that Trump's estimate of the cost of the wall is anywhere near reality."

There ya have it folks. The expert opinion. Might as well not even try.