President Donald Trump won’t settle for an alternative type of border security. He wants a wall.
The president has been engaged in a battle to secure wall funding since he first promised it during the launch of his presidential campaign.
His calls for a wall were amplified after a caravan of thousands of Central Americans made their way toward the United States.
As the caravan neared, President Trump deployed troops to the border to assist law enforcement and completely shut down portions of the border to prevent migrants from entering the country to try and claim asylum — despite many of them not qualifying as asylum seekers.
The president claimed on Twitter on Sunday that this expensive operation to stop the caravan could have been avoided had a border wall been built already:
Arizona, together with our Military and Border Patrol, is bracing for a massive surge at a NON-WALLED area. WE WILL NOT LET THEM THROUGH. Big danger. Nancy and Chuck must approve Boarder Security and the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2018
…..Ice, Border Patrol and our Military have done a FANTASTIC job of securing our Southern Border. A Great Wall would be, however, a far easier & less expensive solution. We have already built large new sections & fully renovated others, making them like new. The Democrats,…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2018
In his most recent fight with Democrats over border security, President Trump refused to sign an appropriations bill unless it had additional funds for building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Because he and Democratic leadership did not reach an agreement by Friday night, the U.S. government entered a partial shutdown.
Although President Trump canceled his trip to Florida for Christmas, most of the Senate went home and will not return to D.C. until an agreement has been made between Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Trump.
Although President Trump conceded building a concrete wall, he still remains adamant that a physical barrier of steel slats is built along the border:
A design of our Steel Slat Barrier which is totally effective while at the same time beautiful! pic.twitter.com/sGltXh0cu9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
As part of these negotiations, there have been proposals to increase alternative forms of border security without building a wall. This would include deploying high tech means of searching cars and advanced surveillance using drones.
President Trump took to Twitter to double down on his demand for an “old-fashioned wall” instead of a “fun” high tech alternative, claiming that a wall is the only effective way to stop criminals and drugs from entering the country:
The only way to stop drugs, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements and much else from coming into our Country is with a Wall or Barrier. Drones and all of the rest are wonderful and lots of fun, but it is only a good old fashioned Wall that works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018
During his heated exchange with Schumer and Pelosi prior to the shutdown, Trump noted that the wall used by Israel is incredibly effective, which has been verified by Politifact. However, the Department of Homeland Security published a report by the U.S. Senate claiming border patrol leadership would prefer an increase in technology to a wall.
Either way, the president must get 60 votes in the Senate to pass any funding, so he must get the Democrats on board with the wall — a move that doesn’t seem likely. According to Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, the shutdown could continue into the New Year and the new Congress.