Reps. James Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi puttin’ their heads together on this smart wall.
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The Democrats are all but splintered (ha ha) on how to approach immigration reform, aside from the fact that they don’t want to allocate a single taxpayer dollar to President Donald Trump’s border wall—at least not a physical wall with concrete and fences and whatever. And not to be seen as pro-open borders, they’ve put their heads together to come up with a grand compromise: A wall...but smart.

House Majority Whip and South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, at the charming age of 78, must’ve been hearing about all these different smart devices that kids are using these days, because he’s made an irresistible proposal of the future to give Trump his demanded $5.7 billion to reopen the government if Trump uses the border security funding to create a “smart wall” instead.

“Using the figure that the president has put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing what I like to call using a smart wall,” Clyburn said after a Democratic caucus meeting, the Hill reported. “These are the types of things that we are going to be putting forward.”

What does Clyburn have in mind, Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices monitoring for vocal recognition along the border? An app to tell migrants not to cross over into the U.S.? Another opportunity for minimally-tested technology to be hacked and hijacked within the realm of the Internet of Things? No, Clyburn’s “smart wall” sounds a lot less fun: Giving credence to Trump’s false claims of a border crisis by funding scanners, sensors, radars, drones, X-rays, more border protection officers, etc. to prevent migrants from crossing into the U.S. between ports of entry.

It seems that Clyburn’s been trying to brand this “drones and sensors” idea as his “Smart Wall” TM to anyone who will listen. He told CNN earlier this month, “We cannot protect the border with concrete. We can protect the border using the technology that’s available to us to wall off intrusions by using that technology.”

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A week later, he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he wanted a border security that was more than just “a monument to one’s existence.”

“A smart wall will be using drones, using sensors, using X-ray equipment to be an effective wall,” Clyburn told Wallace. “To be a deterrent at the border and to be an effective barrier for people who are trying to get in illegally.”

The lives and situations of federal employees and federal jobs that affect others are under dire straits. But giving into a hostage situation to fund an illogical, poorly-supported, hate-based immigration policy—in the form of either a concrete wall or a thousand drones circling the southern border—is no way to move forward.