DHS scraps "Virtual Fence" along AZ-Mexico border
The good news is, they're finally scrapping that silly collection of high-tech whiz-bang sensors, cameras, radars, and satellite-communications equipment, that did everything except stop illegal aliens from crossing the border.
The bad news? They're replacing it with more high-tech whiz-bang sensors, cameras, radars, and satellite-communications equipment. And they're still not putting in a simple fence to stop illegal aliens from crossing the border.
Hey, Michael! I thought the idea was to put in a fairly tough double fence with trenches and patrol it properly. This would stop most illegals (people on foot with nothing but backpacks and water bottles) and slow down the few well-equipped ones (people with vehicles, grading equipment, cutting torches etc.) long enough for the patrol to get there and collar them. Wasn't it? No fence is completely impenetrable, of course, but this would have slowed the torrent to a trickle - a vast improvement.
Perhaps you set up the whizbang "virtual fence" as a test, to see if it would work. Well, you have your answer, don't you?
Isn't it time to put in something that WILL work for a change?
Or are you going to wait until all the emails you get are in Spanish?
Homeland Security Scrapping, Replacing Sub-Par Virtual Fence Along Arizona-Mexico Border
AP/Arizona Daily Star, David Sanders
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
A 98-foot 'virtual fence' tower laden with radar, sensors and sophisticated cameras west of Arivaca, Ariz.
TUCSON, Arizona ó The government will replace its highly touted "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border with new towers, radars, cameras and computer software, scrapping the brand-new $20 million system because it doesn't work sufficiently, officials said.
The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff officially accepted the completed fence from The Boeing Co.
With the decision, Customs and Border Protection officials are acknowledging that the pilot program to detect illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border doesn't work well enough to keep or to continue tweaking.
Chertoff accepted the program on Feb. 22 after Boeing apparently resolved software glitches. But less than a week later, the Government Accountability Office told Congress it "did not fully meet user needs and the project's design will not be used as the basis for future" developments.
The project is made up of nine towers along a 28-mile (45-kilometer) section of border straddling the border crossing at Sasabe, southwest of Tucson.
DHS will put in about 17 new towers, some holding just communications gear, others featuring new cameras or new radars, at an undetermined cost. The department also is spending at least $45 million to have a customized computer program written so the collected data is more quickly and efficiently fed to Border Patrol agents.
Although the system is operating today, it hasn't come close to meeting the Border Patrol's goals, said Kelly Good, deputy director of the Secure Border Initiative program office in Washington. "Probably not to the level that Border Patrol agents on the ground thought that they were going to get. So it didn't meet their expectations."
Agents began using the virtual fence last December, and the towers have resulted in more than 3,000 detentions since, said Greg Giddens, executive director of the SBI program office in Washington.
But that's just a fraction of the several hundred illegal immigrants believed to cross through the Sasabe corridor daily.
The Constitution isn't perfect, but it's better than the system we're using now.