Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Drone Video of Border Wall Prototypes Accidentally Shows How Worthless the Wall Would Be

Construction of border wall prototypes by US Customs and Border Protection outside of San Diego, California (GIF made from US Customs and Border Protection video)

US Customs and Border Protection recently released video of President Trump’s border wall prototypes in San Diego. And we couldn’t help but notice something strange from the video. It shows a bird’s-eye view of the wall from the perspective of a drone. And the drone is much, much higher than the wall.

Do you see what I mean? This is supposed to be a wall that, in President Trump’s words, is going to stop “drugs from pouring into this country.” But the funny thing about a wall is that you can get over it pretty easily these days—especially as drones become more affordable. CBP’s own video proves just how easy it is to get over the damn thing.


Remember the American who was smuggling 13 pounds of meth at a time over the border this summer? He was doing it right near where the border wall prototypes are now being constructed outside San Diego. And President Trump’s proposed wall would do nothing to stop a situation like that. The only thing that does work in such cases is what already worked without the wall: agents spotting smugglers at the border.

When I asked CBP about that, they seemed to acknowledge that the wall obviously doesn’t do shit on its own.


“Matt, don’t forget that there are also agents, sensors, cameras and other technologies monitoring the Border Enforcement Zone,” Carlos Diaz, the Southwest Branch Chief for the CBP Office of Public Affairs, told Gizmodo by email. “The combination of those elements allow for the effective and efficient protection of the wall.”

Construction of border wall prototypes by US Customs and Border Protection outside of San Diego, California (GIF made from US Customs and Border Protection video)

The funny thing about Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall is that it’s not what CBP leadership has repeatedly asked for over the years. The agency wants more technology. Precisely the kind of technology that has been employed at the border for decades, like cameras and sensors. But that’s not what President Trump is delivering.

It’s estimated the Trump’s proposed US-Mexico border wall would cost anywhere from $15 billion on the low-end (according to Republicans like Mitch McConnell) and $70 billion on the high-end (according to Democratic Senator Kamala Harris). But no matter what the final cost, Mexico has already said that they won’t pay for it.


Whether the wall ultimately gets built or not, it’s safe to say that it’s not going to be stopping drugs from getting across the border. But at least it’ll be incredibly expensive and ugly. Great job, President Trump. We knew we could count on you.

You can watch the entire CBP video below.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


It is OK to show bias. You show yours by only addressing the drugs. But the facts are, whether stated or implicit, that the wall is intended to stop/minimize illegal crossings by ‘aliens’ into the ‘States.