Federal agents who patrol the U.S. border with Mexico want 23 more miles (37 km) of fences, better radios and more aerial drones to tighten the southern frontier, according to an unpublished U.S. government study that influences budget requests.
The modest scope of the requirements, details of which were contained in internal emails seen by Reuters and described by Border Patrol officials in interviews, contrasts sharply with calls by Republican presidential candidates for more drastic measures to secure the border. Front runner Donald Trump and rival Ted Cruz have both pledged to build a border wall, a project that could cost several billion dollars.
The extra fences sought by agents in Texas and California would be the first major fencing addition to the nearly 2,000-mile-long southern border in five years. They would cost about $92 million based on the costs of previous fences, though experts say that cost has risen.
Border Patrol has not asked its parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to request funding for any new fences so far.
Border Patrol Chief Ronald Vitiello told Reuters that he is aware that some of his agents require "handfuls" of miles of additional fencing, though he declined to comment on the number of additional miles required.