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Trump’s steel border wall prototype can be cut through with a saw

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Despite President Donald Trump’s growing fondness for “steel slats” along the US-Mexico border, one of the steel border-wall prototypes his administration built in 2017 was cut through with a saw, according to a Department of Homeland Security report NBC News obtained.

The network published a photo showing the steel slats after testers from Border Patrol and the US military took saws to the prototype to see if it could withstand cutting.

The prototype was one of eight erected outside San Diego, California, which Trump visited last spring. The prototypes included a mix of steel and concrete designs, and Trump said he favored the ones with “see-through” steel components, so Border Patrol agents would be able to see the other side.

But a Homeland Security spokeswoman told NBC that none of the prototype designs are currently being used in the fencing projects currently under construction, and that the steel bollard-style design of that particular prototype has long been used on US border barriers.

Read more: Trump reportedly thinks referring to the border wall as ‘steel slats’ will get more Democrats to agree to fund it

A U.S. Border Patrol agent looks at one of border wall prototypes Thursday, June 28, 2018, in San Diego.
Associated Press/Jae C. Hong

“While the design currently being constructed was informed by what we learned in the prototypes, it does not replicate those designs,” Katie Waldman said in a statement to NBC. “The steel bollard design is internally reinforced with materials that require time and multiple industrial tools to breach, thereby providing US Border Patrol agents additional response time to affect a successful law enforcement resolution.”

She continued: “In the event that one of the steel bollards becomes damaged, it is quick and cost-effective to repair.”

Reporters asked Trump about the sawed-through steel on Thursday morning before he departed the White House for a trip to the border in McAllen, Texas.

“That’s a wall that was designed by previous administrations,” Trump said. “There’s nothing that can’t be penetrated … Even concrete — there’s acid that can go through concrete. But what you do is you fix it. And it very much limits; it’s very, very hard. The wall that we’re doing is very hard to penetrate.”

Read more: Trump visited his border wall prototypes for the first time — and the photos are great

A U.S. Border Patrol agent looks at one of border wall prototypes Thursday, June 28, 2018, in San Diego.
Associated Press/Daniel Ochoa de Olza

The news comes amid a nearly three-week-long government shutdown over Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion to construct the border wall. Congressional Democrats have refused to grant the funds, calling the concept of a wall “immoral.”

But Trump has continued to insist that the border is in a state of “crisis,” arguing that a border wall is the most effective solution.

“This barrier is absolutely critical to border security,” he said in his televised address to the nation Tuesday evening. “This is just common sense.”

Experts disagree.

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