Experts say border wall could turn into a virtual wall under Trump

An 18-foot fence stretches through the borderland, separating El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, drawing a clear line in the sand of where the U.S. ends and Mexico begins.

In his first week of office, President Donald Trump signed an executive action to build a "physical wall" along the border. Trump made the promise to voters during a contentious presidential election.

"On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall," Trump said at a campaign event last year.

From El Paso, the fence is hard to miss as it runs along major streets and highways.

Border Patrol agents are stationed at points along the fence and in areas where the fence ends.

“I was here when we pretty much didn't have a pedestrian fence,” said Giovanni Cisneros, a Border Patrol agent, has worked in the El Paso Border Patrol Sector for a decade.

Cisneros patrolled the border while the fence was under construction.

CBS4 rode along with him during a patrol.

“It's a rude awakening for someone who has never experience being or a living on the border,” he said.

Near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, the 18-foot fence comes to an abrupt stop. At this point a vehicle barrier starts, but it gives way for people to cross.

“We don't need a pedestrian fence because, if we have an entry, we have time on our hands and different resources where we can use ATVs, horses out here,” he said.

Cisneros said agents keep an eye out for footprints in the sandy terrain. He said agents can follow the footprints and track people.

“They've disguised their feet, or their footprints with sponge, carpet. Even leaf blowers,” he said.

The idea of a fence is strongly opposed by Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

“We do not need to spend any more money on security. We don't need any more walls or fences,” O’Rouke told CBS4.

Trump’s executive action calls for increased security. Victor M. Manjarrez Jr., the former chief patrol agent of the El Paso Sector, said a virtual wall is more likely.

“There are areas that are still functioning with nighttime technology that still 20 to 25 years old,” Manjarrez said.

Border Patrol agents, he said, could soon be using advanced cameras, sensors and drones.

“A border wall is a tool that has pretty much been exhausted along the Southwest border,” he said.

Along the patrol with agent Cisneros, you can see clearly see through the perforated wall. People walking and driving in Ciudad Juárez can be spotted.

Cisneros calls this an advantage.

“This here it’s a fence right? Not a wall. This to me works because that mesh I can see what's on the south side,” he said.

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