US

Americans who live near border say Trump's wall is unwelcome

  • In this Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, photo, a young migrants girl from Central American newly released after processing by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is fitted shoes at the Sacred Heart Community Center in the Rio Grande Valley border city of McAllen, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    In this Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, photo, a young migrants girl from Central American newly released after processing by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is fitted shoes at the Sacred Heart Community Center in the Rio Grande Valley border city of McAllen, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, photo, a bird rests on a section of 18-foot high border fence in Brownsville, Texas. The idea of a concrete wall spanning the entire 1,954-mile southwest frontier collides head-on with multiple realities, like a looping Rio Grande, fierce local resistance, and cost. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, photo, a bird rests on a section of 18-foot high border fence in Brownsville, Texas. The idea of a concrete wall spanning the entire 1,954-mile southwest frontier collides head-on with multiple realities, like a looping Rio Grande, fierce local resistance, and cost. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent drives along a section of border wall in Hidalgo, Texas. The idea of a concrete wall spanning the entire 1,954-mile southwest frontier collides head-on with multiple realities, like a looping Rio Grande, fierce local resistance, and cost. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    In this Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent drives along a section of border wall in Hidalgo, Texas. The idea of a concrete wall spanning the entire 1,954-mile southwest frontier collides head-on with multiple realities, like a looping Rio Grande, fierce local resistance, and cost. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)  (The Associated Press)

The people who live in the region where the U.S. border meets the Gulf of Mexico never quite understood how Donald Trump's great wall could ever be more than campaign rhetoric.

In interviews with The Associated Press, they described how erecting a concrete barrier across the entire 1,954-mile frontier with Mexico collides head-on with the geology of the Rio Grande valley, fierce local resistance and the immense cost.

That's why an electronically fortified "virtual wall" with surveillance cameras, observation balloons and drones makes a lot more sense to people.

The locals are not convinced that a 30- to 40-foot concrete wall will cure the nation's immigration ills. Few were surprised when the president-elect seemed to soften his position after the election, saying that the wall could include some fencing.