Senior officials in the Trump administration want to put in webcams to livestream building parts of the border wall.
The Washington Post reported that Jared Kushner and other senior White House officials are going against objections from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials in their plan to set up the cameras.
According to the Post, the webcams will be set up early next year in order to help President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and excite his voter base.
Building the wall, which comes with a $10 billion price tag already, has been slow going. Most of the land where the wall will be is privately owned, and less than 4 miles of border wall has been built in Texas since 2017.
Only 81 miles total along the border have been completed, but most of that is just replacing older fencing, and the Post previously reported that smugglers have been able to cut through the new barriers with basic power tools.
“The challenge the administration has had is terming everything ‘new construction,’ when in most cases it’s replacement,” David Lapan, who works at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told the Post. “A camera showing you building something doesn’t differentiate between replacement fencing and new fencing in terms of something that didn’t exist before.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and CBP have tried to tell Kushner and other webcam supporters that contractors building the wall won’t want a camera revealing their techniques to competitors. The government agencies are also concerned that the camera will show the wall work crews violating the law because they have to cross into the Mexican side of the border sometimes, the Post reported. The cameras would also likely need someone to frequently make sure they are working.
But nothing has been able to dissuade Kushner from the webcam idea.
“It’s understood that Kushner is so aggressive because the president has been asking him about it all the time,” a senior White House official told the Post.
At this time, it’s unclear how much installing and maintaining a 24-hour webcam would cost, though the funds may come from the CBP, according to the Post.