Have you heard about the “smart wall” some members of Congress have proposed as an alternative to the president’s “medieval” version? We have, and we’re concerned. This week we joined more than 25 organizations in a letter calling on Congress to reject provisions that would fund “invasive surveillance technology at the border.” Remember, the wall is medieval not in that it represents an antiquated solution to a contemporary problem. The wall is medieval because the wall, in all of its ambient bombast and brutalism, is draconian. We look to the Statute of Liberty as an architectural vindication of immigrants’ rights and American ideals. The wall is a negation of both. But perhaps equally draconian is an alternative that conceals repression under the veneer of technological progress. So, let’s “be smart” and exercise restraint in this moment of manufactured crisis when considering provisions related to border security. A smart wall may well be something we cannot see, but its effects we would certainly feel.

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