One of the undertones in the narrative of a wall vs. an intelligent or virtual border is that the latter has a different material dimension than a physical barrier. For the supporters of the “virtual wall”, this assumption goes hand in glove with the idea that a highly technified border is less expensive and not as detrimental for the surrounding environment and human populations, compared to the physical wall. Almost any image of border technologies at work shows that representing or perceiving the “virtual wall” as the entire opposite of Trump’s “physical wall” is inaccurate. In other words, the "virtual wall" is no less physical and material than a "physical wall".
Ariel Sánchez-Zúñiga, "The Physicality of the Virtual Wall", contributed by Ariel Sánchez-Zúñiga, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 26 June 2019, accessed 5 October 2022. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/physicality-virtual-wall