A physical wall along the US-Mexico border represents a major investment in an expensive model of static defense. Whatever the price of construction, the ongoing debate around this topic often ignores a crucial cost: maintenance. A physical barrier would require considerable upkeep in order to remain effective. In fact, experts estimate that maintenance costs could be as high as $750 million per year.
On the other hand, a digital border wall relies on active defensive strategies to accomplish the same goals more cost-effectively, and in a way that allows authorities to adjust their tactics. Through embedded ground sensors, cameras, and infrared technology, an interconnected digital wall could keep federal agents updated on the coordinates of individuals crossing the border. What’s more, these assets would be inexpensive to move and update if needed — especially in comparison to a physical wall.
By investing in border security that relies on smart, adaptive technology, the government can cut costs and reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the country. A digital wall that connects sensors, cameras, and other hardware to data integration platforms could empower authorities with greater situational awareness and allow them to act on real-time, data-driven insights.