Navy corrects Fox to say Navy SEALS have not tested Trump border wall prototypes

The border wall prototypes were tested by military and border protection teams in January, however

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Saturday 03 March 2018 04:17
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Mural painted on the border fence, on the background border wall prototypes are seen at the US-Mexico border on 22 January 2018.
Mural painted on the border fence, on the background border wall prototypes are seen at the US-Mexico border on 22 January 2018.

The US Navy has corrected a Fox News contributor who said special operations forces were not able to penetrate President Donald Trump's Mexico border wall prototypes.

Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich claimed that "Special Forces operatives and members of our Navy SEAL community were asked to try and breach the wall prototypes and they could not do it."

The Navy's Sea, Air and Land (Seal) Teams were not involved in testing the prototypes, the armed forces branch confirmed to the San Diego Tribune.

Ms Pavlich was dragged on social media, with many experts saying that Seal teams could breach the 30ft-high concrete and steel prototypes if given the right tools.

She was partially correct about one matter - the prototypes have undergone about three weeks of testing in January by US military and US Customs and Border Patrol officials to see whether people could enter the US through the wall designs illegally.

The teams used “jackhammers, saws, torches and other tools and climbing devices,” according to the Associated Press.

It is unclear if they were able to use military-grade equipment during these tests.

US Vice President Mike Pence dodges question about Mexico border wall

A Customs and Border Protection report on the tests had identified "strengths and flaws of each design but does not pick an overall winner or rank them, though it does point to see-through steel barriers topped by concrete as the best overall design," the AP reported.

During the testing, the "highly trained testers" made it up to 20ft high but needed assistance to reach the top of the prototypes and were "concerned" about coming back down the 30ft on the other side.

“Only once did a tester manage to land a hook on top of the wall without help,” the AP reported, according to one source.

The nearly 2,000-mile long proposed wall has been a contentious political topic since 2015, when Mr Trump began his oft-repeated campaign mantra that Mexico would pay for the wall to stem illegal immigration into the US.

He said in 2015: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems… They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists".

It prompted former Mexican President Vicente Fox to say: "we're not paying for the f****** wall".

Despite the continued promise that Mexico would pay for the wall - including a tense call with current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during which Mr Trump refused to compromise on the stance - the Trump administration also asked for $18bn (£13bn) over the next decade for the initial phase of the border wall - significantly more than Mr Trump’s initial cost estimate of around $10bn.

The Trump administration also tied wall construction to a bill on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme, which is intended to protect those brought into the US illegally while they were minors from deportation.

There are approximately 800,000 people - so-called 'Dreamers' - who have benefited from DACA in the US since its beginning in 2012 under former President Barack Obama's administration and many were brought into the country from or through Mexico.

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