Will Trump build a 2,000-mile border wall? Turns out, maybe not

Candidate Donald Trump promised a “big, beautiful wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border. President Trump has repeated that pledge.

Trump’s border security executive order signed five days after he took office calls for “a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier.”

Recent comments from Trump administration officials and other Republicans, however, suggest that a contiguous physical barrier may not come to pass.

RELATED: Chief Texas property rights group states concern about border wall

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said this week that building a border wall in Texas would “cede” territory to Mexico because it would have to be built some distance from the Rio Grande. He also acknowledged the difficulty of building a wall in rugged West Texas, where the river dissects the Chihuahuan Desert, a moonscape of mountains and deep canyons.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly last month said that the wall would “take a multi-layered approach,” with parts of the border security strategy relying on electronic sensors — technology currently employed by the U.S. Border Patrol. He described “parts of the wall that you can actually see,” apparently because in those areas there wouldn’t be a physical barrier.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn told Texas reporters that Trump spoke “metaphorically” when he referred to a border wall. Cornyn said what was needed instead was a combination of infrastructure, technology and personnel.

“You’re going to have some places like Big Bend … where obviously a wall is not necessary and would not be useful,” Cornyn said, referring to the high canyon walls that rise from Rio Grande.

SPECIAL REPORT: Statesman journalists fanned out to cover the prospects of a border wall

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, has also called for a “multi-layered approach” to border security. “I don’t think we need a 2,000-mile wall down there,” McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told PBS after returning from the Rio Grande Valley last month.

Government documents seeking proposals from companies to start construction describe a barrier 30 feet high, made of reinforced concrete or of “other material” such as fencing that would also be 6 feet deep to inhibit tunneling. Bids are due Tuesday.

Meanwhile, money to build the wall is not forthcoming. Senate Republicans are tapping the brakes on the Trump administration’s request for an initial $1.5 billion to build the wall.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Community news: TreeFolks to give away trees Saturday

TRAVIS COUNTY NORTH AUSTIN TreeFolks to give away trees TreeFolks will distribute 1,200 fruit and shade trees to Austin Energy customers from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Austin Community College Northridge Campus, 11928 Stonehollow Drive, in the first tree giveaway of 2018. Free trees are available for Austin Energy customers, who may bring their...
Williamson sheriff gets approval for deputies to be on ‘Live PD’ show
Williamson sheriff gets approval for deputies to be on ‘Live PD’ show

Williamson County sheriff’s deputies might get to show how they roll on prime-time TV. The Williamson County Commissioners Court gave its approval Thursday to the sheriff’s office to negotiate a contract with a television show that does live recordings of law enforcement on their daily calls. The show, called “Live PD,” is broadcast...
PolitiFact: Teachers don’t have college degrees? Give than an F
PolitiFact: Teachers don’t have college degrees? Give than an F

Andrew White, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor who’s called for $5,000 pay raises for public school teachers, declared that half of the state’s newest teachers lack college degrees. White, a Houston investor, said, “I know this: One way to fix education is to pay teachers more, so that we can attract the best teachers and...
Traffic report for Jan. 22, 2018

Interstate 35 (Travis County): The inside lane on the northbound access road will be closed at Slaughter Lane for three-quarters of a mile from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights; the entrance ramp will also be closed. Reduced to one northbound lane under Stassney Lane from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Wednesday; the entrance from William...
White says with Straus out as speaker, Texas will be a ‘runaway truck’
White says with Straus out as speaker, Texas will be a ‘runaway truck’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White said Saturday that it is imperative for Democrats to take the Governor’s Mansion in 2018 because otherwise, with the departure of Joe Straus as speaker of the House, Texas government will be a “runaway truck without anyone able to hit the brakes.” “Over and over, Speaker Straus...
More Stories