A recent directive from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed a summer project for soldiers near the country’s border with Mexico: a makeover for Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful” border wall.
According to a DHS email sent to CBS News, American troops will be deployed to the California border town of Calexico with instructions to paint a mile-long stretch of wall, mainly for beautification.
Per the email, “the primary purpose” of the month-long project “is to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall.” Additionally, the agency said there might be “operational” benefits around painted barriers: Purportedly, it would allow border patrol to combat the “camouflaging tactics of illegal border crossers,” who would also experience more difficulty scaling painted posts.
Several lawmakers decried the directive, characterizing it as a wasteful allocation of taxpayer money:
Representative Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told CBS News that the task is a “gross misuse” of the military. “These are soldiers, they are not painters,” he said.
Conditions at the US/Mexico border have been under serious strain for several years, as an influx of Central American migrants leaving the political, social, and economic instability of their home countries leads to an unprecedented level of unauthorized migration at the southern border, including large numbers unaccompanied minors. Politicians from both US political parties have recognized situation as a humanitarian crisis.