Gen. Anthony Tata: A border wall truth -- All the technology in the world will not stop illegal immigrants

President Trump is right when he argues that drones and technology are not sufficient to stop illegal immigration. Of course, our border patrol forces armed with technology and drones are a lethal force but that combination alone cannot totally prevent illegal immigrants or hostile forces from entering the United States.

By way of example, as a commander in operational combat zones in Kosovo and Afghanistan, I had thousands of troops and the latest technology arrayed along the borders with Macedonia and Pakistan, respectively. Despite having the best soldiers in the world and the most advanced technology, we still couldn’t completely stop enemy infiltration.

We used drones, ground radars, human intelligence, image intelligence, and other forms of the most advanced special intelligence in the world. To be sure, along with the roughly 100-mile Kosovo-Macedonia border we detained many Islamic jihadists infiltrating into Macedonia, but not all. And those that did infiltrate threatened the fledgling democracy in Skopje.

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In Afghanistan, we had thousands of combat soldiers operating from dozens of forward operating bases along the nearly 1,500-mile Pakistan border with the sole mission of preventing infiltration through means of killing or capturing the enemy.  We employed every available technology—drones, ground sensors, multiple intelligence methods—and to be sure, our troops killed and captured significant numbers of enemy, but not all. Those that made it through, fought to destabilize progress in Afghanistan.

Whether 100 miles or 1,500 miles long, the best military in the world with the best technology in the world could not 100 percent prevent infiltration…and the conditions in most cases were life and death.

The point, of course, is that many who oppose a wall as part of integrated border security on the nearly 2,000-mile Mexico-U.S. border are clueless about the practical realities of securing our borders.

They speak in high minded terms about technology and “other assets” that can control infiltration across the rugged terrain. To be sure, our border control forces already employ significant technology and do a superb job, but just like our troops in combat, without barriers, there is no way to channel the flow of those you’re charged with detaining.

In fact, one of the maxims of military operations is to create mobility corridors by denying terrain to those attempting to penetrate your position. The more “no go” terrain you create, the more you can focus your troops and technology where the infiltrators will naturally flow, the “go” terrain.

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A wall is just common sense when determining how best to channel the flow of terrorists and migrants attempting infiltrate the U.S. Further, with Iran and Hezbollah setting up shop in Venezuela, we can fully anticipate more land infiltrations by terrorists.

It is paramount that we integrate barriers along the border with Mexico to provide our Border and Customs law enforcement officers the best possible tools to do their job and keep America safe.

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