The Trump administration plans to start with a much less ambitious footprint focusing only on most highly trafficked corridors, according to a Department of Homeland Security planning document.
In the document, borders sectors identified as “high priority” are Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of Texas encompassing Rio Grande City, McAllen and Weslaco , as well as El Paso, Tucson and San Diego.
The areas were selected because of their proximity to urban centers and roads, allowing those who cross to vanish quickly, according to the document, which was made public by congressional committee staffers. The preliminary plan anticipates adding more than 100 new miles of wall over the next two years, on top of the 700 miles of fencing that already exists, at an initial cost of more than $3.6 billion.
The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, hailed the targeted approach as a more practical and effective solution to illegal immigration than a 2,000-mile wall stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.
“As long as you put it in strategic locations, it will do a good job,” said Brandon Judd, the council’s president. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman emphasized in a statement to The Washington Post that the document is preliminary and that the areas of priority could change, depending on an assessment by the border sector chiefs expected in the coming weeks.