Top immigration official says solar-paneled border wall ‘not off the table’

October 19, 2017

(FILES)US Border Patrol agents Colleen Agle and Richard Funke (L) patrol the border between Arizona and Mexico at the town of Nogales in this July 28, 2010 file photo. Twenty thousand new border patrol agents, hundreds of miles of fencing, billions of dollars in drones, radar and sensors: US lawmakers are proposing a militaristic remedy to staunch illegal immigrant flow from Mexico. The Senate is expected June 24, 2013 to green-light the most important amendment yet to the landmark immigration bill, but the measure -- designed to placate Republican concerns about security -- would ensure that the border region is one of the most highly policed zones in the Western Hemisphere.    AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON

OTAY MESA, Calif. – A solar-paneled barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border is an option the Trump administration could pursue, according to a senior Customs and Border Protection official who has been closely monitoring the construction of prototypes that are meant to inspire a design for President Trump’s border wall.

Mario Villarreal, the newly appointed division chief for CBP’s San Diego field office, is enjoying his front-row seat to history as President Trump’s border wall continues to stir controversy 3,000 miles away in Washington.

Villarreal helps manage 2,200 front-line federal border patrol agents stationed at one of the busiest commercial ports of entry along the southern border of the U.S. But for the last four weeks, he has also kept a close eye on eight towering structures that are slowly being built behind San Diego’s secondary border barrier, a steel mesh fence that spans 13 miles and was built during Bill Clinton’s second term.

“We’ve had various types [of barriers] along the border for decades,” Villarreal told the Washington Examiner in an interview Wednesday. “To finally partner with an industry to get their creativity and ideas, it’s certainly refereshing.”

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