Immigration round-up: Dysfunctional virtual fence, meeting on the border, and reconsidering new immigration laws

posted at 7:38 pm on September 26, 2007 by Bryan

There’s no good narrative stitching all these stories together, save one: The federal government still isn’t serious about securing the border.

The virtual fence, touted by the likes of President Bush and Sen. Hillary Clinton as the high-tech way to security, doesn’t work.

Ground radar and cameras that were to identify illegal border crossers so that armed patrols could be dispatched to capture them have had trouble distinguishing people and vehicles from cows and bushes. The sensors are also confused by moisture, the officials said.

The government has grown so worried that it is withholding nearly $5 million in payments to Boeing Co., which was selected as the main contractor a year ago. The House Appropriations Committee has voted to withhold $700 million of the $1 billion that President Bush requested for the program for next year, pending further details and progress reports.

In May 2006, Bush heralded the “virtual fence” as “the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history” and as a linchpin for his immigration overhaul, which later collapsed in the Senate. DHS has proposed spending $2.5 billion to secure 370 miles of the border with fences, at least 200 miles of vehicle barriers and about 130 miles with technology by the end of the next year.

In the virtual shadow of the virtual fence that doesn’t work, members from the governments on both sides are meeting to make a show of doing something that neither government really wants to do.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, are all expected to attend the two-day meeting in the Sonoran beach resort of Puerto Penasco, or Rocky Point. It’s a sign, say state officials, that the ball is in their court.

“This shows the states taking the initiative, trying to discuss their common interests and coming to some solutions,” said Mario Welfo, a spokesman for Sonora Gov. Eduardo Bours Castelo.

All six Mexican border governors are expected to attend the meeting, the 25th of its kind, on Thursday and Friday, Welfo said. Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will represent the U.S. side.

Past meetings have been criticized as gabfests, with few real results.

Well, the lack of results could be in part because governors like Texas’ Rick Perry speak out of both sides of their mouths on the issue, saying “Enforcement first!” on the north side of the border and “We don’t need no stinkin’ wall!” when on the south side.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

MEXICO CITY — Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday criticized the proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico as he expressed optimism about the future of economic ties between his state and Mexico.

Perry is leading a trade mission of more than 150 Texas business leaders and state officials focused on developing partnerships in the energy sector, particularly renewable energies like wind power.

Perry told reporters that the border barrier — approved by Congress last fall and signed into law by President Bush in October — sends a “bad message” and it “absolutely won’t work.” Perry made the remarks before he was scheduled to meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, also an outspoken critic of the planned 700-mile wall between Brownsville, Texas and the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, a town that took immigration matters into its own hands is having a change of heart thanks mostly to the economic impact of having so many illegals leave town.

RIVERSIDE, N.J., Sept. 25 — A little more than a year ago, the Township Committee in this faded factory town became the first municipality in New Jersey to enact legislation penalizing anyone who employed or rented to an illegal immigrant.

Angelina Guedes has owned a hair and nail salon in Riverside, N.J., for two years. It was nearly empty on a recent afternoon.

Within months, hundreds, if not thousands, of recent immigrants from Brazil and other Latin American countries had fled. The noise, crowding and traffic that had accompanied their arrival over the past decade abated.

The law had worked. Perhaps, some said, too well.

With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.

Read the rest.

San Diego has come up with a solution to the cost of having so many illegals actually stay in town. It won’t help Riverside, but it might get the feds’ attention.


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The virtual fence, touted by the likes of President Bush and Sen. Hillary Clinton as the high-tech way to security, doesn’t work.

Well knock me over with a straw!

amerpundit on September 26, 2007 at 7:44 PM

Good for San Diego!

Only thing is, they’re taking the bill to the wrong federal branch. There is no way Congress is going to pony up a dime to pay the bill-that would mean admitting the negative impact of illegal aliens and the fact that they have made a point of not doing their job on the matter.

They need to go to court-after doing some California-style judge shopping. Only then do they have a chance with the bill.

I must say, though, as bad as the border situation is, the idea of the Courts taking over border enforcement directly gives me the willies. But maybe that is what it will take (I hope not).

Lancer on September 26, 2007 at 7:51 PM

If I half-assed paying my taxes as badly as they’ve half-assed this fence I’d need an attorney.

trubble on September 26, 2007 at 7:58 PM

Mexican President Felipe Calderon, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, are all expected to attend

Since when is the world’s richest man, a Mexican? If that were true, Americans would be sneaking into Mexico.

jihadwatcher on September 26, 2007 at 8:02 PM

Since when is the world’s richest man, a Mexican? If that were true, Americans would be sneaking into Mexico.

jihadwatcher on September 26, 2007 at 8:02 PM

Believe it. Mexico’s wealth is highly concentrated.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/322239_richest04.html

Theworldisnotenough on September 26, 2007 at 8:06 PM

Rick Perry is another RINO. I voted for candidate #3 in our last election down here (Kinky) because I just couldn’t force myself to punch R for governor. Perry is a little Jorge Bush clone (better hair and slightly better enunciation aside).

Sad how so many (theoretical) Texas conservatives are in the pocket of the big business/cheap labor pimps. Maybe Cornyn (and to a lesser extent Hutchison) will save us.

SailorDave on September 26, 2007 at 8:14 PM

Great report Bryan. Keep beating the drum, we really, really need to secure the borders. I’m afraid our congressional delegation from here in Pennsylvania will not help…

Zorro on September 26, 2007 at 8:25 PM

The government has grown so worried that it is withholding nearly $5 million in payments to Boeing Co., which was selected as the main contractor a year ago. The House Appropriations Committee has voted to withhold $700 million of the $1 billion that President Bush requested for the program for next year, pending further details and progress reports.

When the details include Boeing Co. being replaced by a company owned by Carlos Slim and leased to the US for an indefinite period at a price to be determined by Carlos Slim, the fence will be built. That 700 million is just the down payment.

News2Use on September 26, 2007 at 8:30 PM

$5 million…$700 million of the $1 billion….$2.5 billion….“the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history”

Holy crap, it’s not rocket science, it’s just a freaking fence!

When I was a kid my parents bought a new house, we moved in, but there happened to be no fence around the back yard. My Dad went to a lumber yard, bought the materials he needed, brought the stuff home, and built a fence around the yard. Where there had been no fence, there was now a fence.

I know, I know, it’s not a fair analogy, but the point is, when people actually want to get something done they do it, and it gets done. End of story.

All these numbers and speeches and reasons and excuses are just a load of horseshit!

I need a beer.

infidel4life on September 26, 2007 at 8:32 PM

Off topic, but a great tip for a headline:

Anti-Defamation League doesn’t like shape of 40 year-old Navy building. $600,000 to be spent to change it.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,298165,00.html

jihadwatcher on September 26, 2007 at 8:50 PM

Ground radar and cameras that were to identify illegal border crossers so that armed patrols could be dispatched to capture them have had trouble distinguishing people and vehicles from cows and bushes. The sensors are also confused by moisture, the officials said.

Is Boeing doing R&D on the American tax payers dime ?

Mojack420 on September 26, 2007 at 8:51 PM

jihadwatcher on September 26, 2007 at 8:50 PM

Fox got it wrong…

Building was originally constructed in 1933. This story has been floating around forever. I guess Fox needed to fill in something since Britanny didn’t fall under a bus today.

Limerick on September 26, 2007 at 8:57 PM

Yep, the virtual fence keeps virtually nobody out and yes an 11 foot ladder will scale a 10 foot fence but we have to do something better sooner than later. The answer of course lies in drying up the illegal’s opportunity to obtain work but the fence is still needed as a reminder of where Mexico ends and the USA begins.

Come November 1, 2007 Oklahoma will have the toughest undocumentd worker State law in the nation go into effect. That is of course if LULA, the DNC and la Raza haven’t gotten some brain dead judge to shut it down. We’re already seeing a lot more cooperation from ICE when an illegal is arrested for DUI or other serious crime.

A reminder to all political candidates, the first one of your to include deportation in your campaign is gonna win really big.

Buzzy on September 26, 2007 at 9:00 PM

The date of construction aside, the story is that a special interest group pressured the Navy to change the shape of a building. And the Navy acquiesced.

Of course, being made in 1933 will give the Left a field day. Watch this story explode.

jihadwatcher on September 26, 2007 at 9:01 PM

Taxes? Yes I paid my taxes, I mailed you a virtual check last month.

jed58 on September 26, 2007 at 9:14 PM

Hispanic immigrants sue U.S. city after crackdown
Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:13pm EDT

By Av Harris

DANBURY, Connecticut (Reuters) – Ten Hispanic immigrants filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a Connecticut city, its mayor and police chief, and federal agents who led a crackdown on illegal immigration last year.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, claims the arrests violated the civil rights of nine workers and a 10th man who was stopped at a traffic light, including their right to due legal process, free speech and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, according to court documents.

It is the latest legal challenge to crackdowns on illegal immigrants, as localities nationwide grapple with how to handle their status.

The lawsuit claims undercover police in Danbury, Connecticut, lured the workers into a van by posing as contractors looking for day laborers.

“He offered us work and we took it,” plaintiff Juan Berrera told a news conference, referring to an undercover police officer. “We didn’t know why, but they immediately arrested us and put us in handcuffs. We didn’t know what was going on.

“They treated me like a violent criminal and all I was trying to do was find work,” Berrera added.

After their 2006 arrest in a sting set up by local and federal authorities, the men were handed over to federal agents, held without charge for days or weeks, then transported to detention centers before being released on bond, court documents said.

The plaintiffs, represented by Yale University law students, claim the U.S. Constitution protects the civil rights of all people in the United States. The attorneys would not discuss their clients’ immigration status or their countries of origin.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton vowed to defend the city.

Boughton, a Republican, is a well-known crusader against illegal immigration. Two years ago, he wanted Connecticut State Police find illegal workers and turn them over to the U.S. immigration agency for deportation. Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell rejected the request.

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN2628511520070927?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews&rpc=22&sp=true

Speakup on September 26, 2007 at 9:25 PM

SailorDave on September 26, 2007 at 8:14 PM

Don’t hold your breath. Hutchison is very squishy. She likes big business—a lot! Cornyn is better but you still have to keep an eye on what he is doing.

News2Use on September 26, 2007 at 8:30 PM

Very astute. If Perry is involved, it very well could happen the way you say. That man is a disgrace to Texas.

(Overlook how odd looking this comment is. I’m still learning how to set up comments.)

maxine on September 26, 2007 at 9:54 PM

but the fence is still needed as a reminder of where Mexico ends and the USA begins

That is one very, very expensive reminder!

I don’t know what to think about the fence. There are some good reasons against it. (Then again, some of the reasons are seriously dumb, like claiming it will hurt cross-border commerce.)

My libertarian instinct says that it would be much better for the government to enforce the laws we have rather than spend millions and millions. Plus the economic effect, which is significant.

MamaAJ on September 26, 2007 at 10:06 PM

Why did they give the contract to Boeing when USGlobal already showed a system that worked, on FOX News, years ago?

Franklin Hill on September 26, 2007 at 10:34 PM

If I half-assed paying my taxes as badly as they’ve half-assed this fence I’d need an attorney.

trubble on September 26, 2007 at 7:58 PM

You would need a cake with a hack-saw baked into it.

MB4 on September 26, 2007 at 10:42 PM

…governors like Texas’ Rick Perry speak out of both sides of their mouths on the issue, saying “Enforcement first!” on the north side of the border and “We don’t need no stinkin’ wall!” when on the south side.

Actually, Perry has been quite clear all along that he’s against a full-length border barrier. He’s called it “preposterous” in interviews conducted in the US.

juliesa on September 26, 2007 at 11:10 PM

When I was a kid my parents bought a new house, we moved in, but there happened to be no fence around the back yard. My Dad went to a lumber yard, bought the materials he needed, brought the stuff home, and built a fence around the yard. Where there had been no fence, there was now a fence.

I know, I know, it’s not a fair analogy, but the point is, when people actually want to get something done they do it, and it gets done. End of story.

All these numbers and speeches and reasons and excuses are just a load of horseshit!

I need a beer.

infidel4life on September 26, 2007 at 8:32 PM

It is most certainly a fair analogy, and in the time that separates your comment from mine, I hope that you have located and consumed beers to your heart’s content. Maybe I’ll have the privilege to buy you one someday.

RushBaby on September 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM

I would bet that none of the geniuses voting for a virtual fence employ this technology on the perimeter of their own homes.

Unfrigginbelievable.

The Race Card on September 27, 2007 at 1:55 AM

Fences make good neighbors.

Buzzy on September 27, 2007 at 7:44 AM

“Bit of a shocker, here, Peter!”

Jaibones on September 27, 2007 at 9:12 AM

And the RNC is probably wondering why they are running out of money…

_Jon on September 27, 2007 at 9:13 AM

Perry is obviously a bozo focused on playing both sides of the issue to see how many stupid white Texans and how many illiterate Mexican immigrants he can bamboozle at election time.

Exit Question: Where the Hell is Ron Paul?! I thought he was the Texas Conservative Answer?!

Jaibones on September 27, 2007 at 9:15 AM

The border issue has been an education for the American public. We are learning who’s really in control of our government. It’s the money, the money, the money. Money is God. Money is the first and last thought of every politician. Money is found in the coffers of corporate America. Money that is earmarked for political power.

We don’t have control of our borders because corporate America doesn’t want our borders controlled. Corporate America is well aware of the fact that this cheap labor source costs our society billions of dollars in social services every year and that cost is currently being covered by tax revenues. (the very segment of the population that is being hurt by this labor competition is footing the bill to support it) The costs are not being connected to corporate America. Corporate America prefers that these workers be illegal because it limits their ability to negotiate higher wages.

The American agricultural industry is being hooked on this like a drug. They know it’s wrong for America but they can’t do without it.

American culture as we knew it through the 60′s and 70′s is gone forever thanks to the new corporate dynamics for America. The CEO’s and board members live in gated communities and have their chirdren educated in private schools. The American working class is being strapped with the bill and faced with the increase in crime and decrease in quality of education.

I would ask that you remember this at election time, but it would make absolutely no difference. We’ll just keep woking away on the fence that will never be built. What wonderful comedy.

Ernest on September 27, 2007 at 9:38 AM

The American agricultural industry is being hooked on this like a drug. They know it’s wrong for America but they can’t do without it.

And the thing is agriculture, since the 40′s, has been able under the H2A visa program to bring in as many workers as can be proven needed. Illegals and lazy employers even undercut that.

jed58 on September 27, 2007 at 11:29 AM

I’m just wondering, if this border fence is the best Uncle Sam can do, then how bad off is that fence that’s supposed to be securing Area 51?

Lancer on September 27, 2007 at 6:19 PM

Speakup on September 26, 2007 at 9:25 PM

Since when can law students practice law?? I would think that CT has a law against practicing law without a license. I know MS has a limited practice act that allows law students to do certain thing under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Does CT have the same? Anybody??

Claimsratt on September 27, 2007 at 9:27 PM