Virtual fence an actual flop

posted at 7:50 am on April 24, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

During the 2006 debate over immigration and border security, some argued that a “virtual fence” could secure the southern border as or more effectively than a physical barrier. It would create less environmental issues and require less use of eminent domain to implement. As it turns out, however, it also doesn’t stop illegal immigrants from coming across the border:

The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted “virtual fence” on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system is failing to adequately alert border patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said.

The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his approval of the fence built by the Boeing Co. The fence consists of nine electronic surveillance towers along a 28-mile section of border southwest of Tucson. …

A glaring shortcoming of the project was the time lag between the electronic detection of movement along the border and the transmission of a camera image to agents patrolling the area, the GAO reported.

Although the fence continues to operate, 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.

The fence has not been entirely scrapped. Boeing claims it has better technology on the way, and that Project 28 was never supposed to be the state of the art. They have already begun replacing that prototype with another, more robust version. However, DHS chief Michael Chertoff had already accepted the Project 28 plan as the basis on which to expand the virtual-fence project in February, giving the agency a black eye on its oversight.

Project 28 captured 3,000 illegal border crossers in four months. That sounds impressive, but in the areas it covered, hundreds attempt to cross each day. The Border Patrol would have done just as well with that $20 million if they had hired 200 more agents and bought 200 new vehicles with the money.

Of course, they would have done even better had they focused on building an actual fence in the area instead of a virtual fence. Perhaps we should focus on the latter first, and then experiment with the former later.


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This is America.

We are rebuilding nations that are more than 10,000 miles away from us, securing their borders, and we can’t or don’t want to build a fence to protect our own borders?

No, this is not America.

This is bullshit.

Indy Conservative on April 24, 2008 at 7:54 AM

Not enough virtual illegals to justify it.

Hening on April 24, 2008 at 7:57 AM

Not enough virtual illegals to justify it.

Hening on April 24, 2008 at 7:57 AM

Too small of a border to waste money on it.

Indy Conservative on April 24, 2008 at 8:01 AM

But of course, to hear some tell it, it’s all a success, with the evidence being that the trials and testing work that revealed the ‘fence’ system doesn’t work was evaluated with a test plan that all the apparatchiks coordinated on, it was conducted exactly according to the test plan regardless of relevance, and the results were redundantly documented and distributed to the appropriate agencies and offices within months of the original test reporting date. The test result probably indicates that the majority of the subsystems and components functioned nominally within their expected parameters, however, that certain key processes or integration actually aren’t working reliably, but with further contractor involvement, study, development, and testing, always more testing, the spiral development of the overall system has made substantive progress, with some shortfalls.

One being actual effectiveness, the other being actual functionality.

But their process works fine….

Wind Rider on April 24, 2008 at 8:01 AM

Brick and mortar, barb/razor wire, minefields, whatever it takes, just build a REAL wall first, then put a virtual wall in front of it as an additional obstacle, then moat behind it and fill the moat with sharks with lasers on their heads.

If anybody can do this, it’s Boeing. I trust them with my life everyday, hence the 737 on my name.

Tony737 on April 24, 2008 at 8:08 AM

Of course, they would have done even better had they focused on building an actual fence in the area instead of a virtual fence. Perhaps we should focus on the latter former first, and then experiment with the former latter later.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 8:08 AM

one thing I’ve learned on government contracts…it’s usually the customers fault that a product is less than exemplary.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 8:12 AM

It doesn’t matter what Middle America wants. Thanks to this rotten election process and the MSM, we don’t get the candidates that we want. As a result most voters have simply dropped from the process out of sheer frustration. So the open-borders globalists on both sides of the isle will now have their way.
As for me, well I’m certainly going to insist that my kids learn Spanish. Thats the future for us living here in Texas. We can’t fight ‘em so join ‘em.
Honestly the blame “must” go to those on “our side” for not being able to pull together a cohesive coalition. We’re just a collection of rag-tag independents. We need to look in the mirror and point the finger of blame. Darvin Dowdy

Darvin Dowdy on April 24, 2008 at 8:13 AM

The stretch of border between Nogales and Bisbee in southern Arizona is beautiful country. The desert sweeps across the border to the mountains in Mexico. It is a wonderful thing to see.

Before we put an ugly brick-and-mortar gash across it, I’d like to give the technology a chance.

A little bit of patience, folks. They’ll work the technology out.

Or, do you mind if I come to YOUR backyard and start running around with a backhoe?

smagar on April 24, 2008 at 8:16 AM

Bridge to Nowhere meet The Fence To Nowhere.

elraphbo on April 24, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Or, do you mind if I come to YOUR backyard and start running around with a backhoe?

No problem at all. I honestly would sell to the government and move over this issue. Absolutely.

Of course, I don’t live on the border. But I certainly would do it if I did, without hesitation.

There is no more significant imminent domain in the country than our borders in my opinion.

I don’t understand how it wasn’t claimed as Federal land from the beginning? How did private land owners EVER have ownership rights to the right-of-way along the border? (And that goes for the northern border also)

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 8:24 AM

smagar on April 24, 2008 at 8:16 AM

I hear your pain, but keeping illegals and terrorists out has to be job one. Maybe a 100′ deep trench with land mines at the bottom would look better? Some shrubbery would be nice. I think if we enforced the laws already on the books, we would need less fence.

Hening on April 24, 2008 at 8:24 AM

maybe the same people would like to put virtual locks on there doors and see how long it takes before the criminals figure it out and rob them blind.

Build a real Virtual Fence.

for 20 million would could build a pretty good fence hell we can even use illegal in jail awaiting deportation as labor {punishment for breaking our laws } I am always hearing how hard working they are . I also offered to go to Arizona during the summer to help on the fence to off set my student loans , im still waiting to hear back on that

Mojack420 on April 24, 2008 at 8:25 AM

A real fence would be a violation of the rights of property owners along the border. Already, landowners are filing suit to prevent the building of a fence across their land.

Conservatives who support the Constitution side with the land owners.

“conservatives” who believe the ineffective, money pit boondoggle that would be a fence across the border of Mexico, (“require less use of eminent domain to implement”, I thought “conservatives” were against the use of eminent domain when it comes to confiscating private property?) is the answer to our problems, are simply wrong.

A fence along our border with Mexico is simply put, stupid. It won’t happen and it shouldn’t happen. Working on the technology that would give us a virtual fence, seems to make a whole lot more sense. If we can shoot down incoming missiles from space, we should be able to hone the technology necessary to build a virtual fence.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 8:33 AM

Good work, Captain!

Boeing claims it has better technology on the way, and that Project 28 was never supposed to be the state of the art.

Then why represent it that way to anyone prior to being exposed as a fraud of an effort?

DHS chief Michael Chertoff had already accepted the Project 28 plan as the basis on which to expand the virtual-fence project in February, giving the agency a black eye on its oversight.

Either Chertoff is a stupid and incompetent idiot to not identify exactly what he is studying, or he knew exactly what it was with all of its limitations and went with it in order to frustrate concerned Americans in hopes of making those concerned give up, give in, quit demanding CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY. We will not fold up in exhaustion as Bush & Co. would have us do. Either way, Chertoff must go, along with his stupid top heavy new bureaucracy. While we are at it, trash the CIA and incorporate the intelligence efforts within the FBI, period.

Project 28 captured 3,000 illegal border crossers. That sounds impressive, but in the areas it covered, hundreds attempt to cross each day. The Border Patrol would have done just as well with that $20 million if they had hired 200 more agents and bought 200 new vehicles with the money.

As you are saying, it was NOT the virtual fence that captured anyone, but the BORDER PATROL AGENTS who captured all.

The legislation fabricated during the later 20th Century needs to be repealed. It is not Constitutionally based, but progressively deconstructs the rule of law. Based upon the Constitution, our Border Patrol AND National Guard AND all armed forces including law enforcement officers are to be coordinated. The legal precedence for coordinated efforts has already been instigated by Bush and Congress by establishing the very office that Chertoff uses to further the New World Order rather than securing the USA. For any judge to interfere in order to prevent the executive branch and law enforcement agencies from respecting their Constitutional responsibilities is NOT acceptable. Give the Judicial Branch their own PC Rx. Liberal judges make Americans feel uncomfortable, and that is politically incorrect; and by their own reasoning politically incorrect is unacceptable. Hence, their liberal decrees are not constitutionally based. THEY are unconstitutional.

maverick muse on April 24, 2008 at 8:35 AM

NoDonkey, the armed virtual fence would work. Won’t happen, of course.

maverick muse on April 24, 2008 at 8:38 AM

Let’s ask the Vatican to build a real fence for us.

saved on April 24, 2008 at 8:40 AM

Or, do you mind if I come to YOUR backyard and start running around with a backhoe?

smagar on April 24, 2008 at 8:16 AM

If the alternative is having a bunch of arrogant criminals with bird-flipping contempt for the law infest my back yard, and open-borders nuts accusing me of KKK-style racism if I should even notice that these people are criminals, bring that backhoe over NOW and START DIGGING!

Bigfoot on April 24, 2008 at 8:52 AM

Meanwhile the illegal aliens continue to kill. The latest victim in the Houston area was a mother of five. To top it all off, one of the assailant’s accomplices (who was also here illegally) has tuberclosis.

Mike Honcho on April 24, 2008 at 8:55 AM

Virtual fence an actual flop

No kidding. How many millions before they realized what any American with a brain could have told them.

With the virtual fence eventually they would have had to petition a FISA court to react to alarms anyway.

peacenprosperity on April 24, 2008 at 8:59 AM

Property owners on the border have no constitutional right to stop the government from putting up the fence. What they can do is force the government to initiate condemnation proceedings and pay them for a fence easement across the southern edge of their property. Surely the government budgeted for fence easements…

Outlander on April 24, 2008 at 9:03 AM

$675 a FOOT.

That’s what we are paying for this ‘fence’.

It is the same as taking all the locks off your doors and windows and relying on ADT to keep your property out of Frankie’s Pawn.

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 9:14 AM

ENFORCEMENT! Enable law enforcement to protect and serve the Constitution. Require legislators to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities and get off the back of constitutional law enforcement rather than destroy the rule of law.

The fence may help prevent some entry and may advance apprehension, none of which matters if law enforcement and the judicial system do not protect the nation from illegal aliens, hiding behind liberal progressive false interpretation of the law being ruled in order to promote the New World Order.

maverick muse on April 24, 2008 at 9:25 AM

Virtual fence an actual flop

I am wrestling with this…this is what they said about Reagan’s “star wars”.
It is not working, but I (I think) want them to continue working on the virtual fence, while pursuing the physical fence.
The technology we gain from this “virtual” fence can be invaluable years from now, if they are serious about actually investing in the R & D.
Not giving them a pass on deceiving us (what else does a bureaucrat do?), but I would like multiple lines of defense to stop the influx of ILLEGAL aliens…I think.

right2bright on April 24, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Discounting some of the buzz words (e.g., CNN’s scrapping) isn’t this the same news that came out shortly (within two weeks) after Chertoff’s approval announcement? Maybe the “time lag between the electronic detection … and the transmission … to agents patrolling the area” is new info, but the gov’t already announced the system was put on an extended hiatus because of ‘problems’.

Considering that Boeing is in the process of updating software to meet agent needs, I guess to something still short of “state of the art”, it sounds to me that “scrapping” isn’t the right word for CNN to be using, unless, of course CNN thinks scrapping means putting new things in something to make it work the way you want it to.

Dusty on April 24, 2008 at 9:34 AM

The New Official Virtual Fence…two sticks, 25 feet of string, hang tin cans on string, put ball bearings in cans. And repeat…

soulsirkus on April 24, 2008 at 9:40 AM

“This week, the U.S. Justice Department began taking those landowners into federal court, seeking judicial orders to compel them to grant the government the temporary right to enter their properties. Of 135 landowners in California, Arizona and Texas sent warning letters by last month, 102 have refused to comply, according to homeland security officials.”
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-080115fence,0,6983165.story

I’m with the landowners – there is NOTHING conservative or even sane, with building a fence across our border with Mexico.

There has to be a better way. It’s simply tyranny for the feds to forcibly seize private property for the purpose of building some worthless fence.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 9:40 AM

2100 years ago 9,600 men put up 66 miles of double 15ft fence in six days (Alesia).

And they didn’t have a backhoe.

Sure I’m all for the techno weenie stuff. It ADDS to the security, but this Eye of Saron, trying to keep Frodo from slipping through a 2100 mile hole, is BS.

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Our tax dollars at work. I say we put the Army Corps of Engineers and the Seebees on the job and they’ll get us a fence built.

CP on April 24, 2008 at 10:02 AM

si.se.puede.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 10:16 AM

“conservatives” who believe the ineffective, money pit boondoggle that would be a fence across the border of Mexico, (”require less use of eminent domain to implement”, I thought “conservatives” were against the use of eminent domain when it comes to confiscating private property?) is the answer to our problems, are simply wrong.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 8:33 AM

Conservatives oppose the abuse of eminent domain to enrich developers or ‘increase the tax base’…conservatives don’t oppose the correct use of eminent domain to secure the country’s borders…unless they’re pro-illegal labor.

James on April 24, 2008 at 10:16 AM

James on April 24, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Absolutely right.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 10:19 AM

The stretch of border between Nogales and Bisbee in southern Arizona is beautiful country. The desert sweeps

across the border to the mountains in Mexico. It is a wonderful thing to see.

Before we put an ugly brick-and-mortar gash across it, I’d like to give the technology a chance.

A little bit of patience, folks. They’ll work the technology out.

Right. We can’t let little things like protecting our national sovereignty and rescuing our welfare system mess up the esthetics of our desert lands. After all, a little effort with trash clean-up and you would never know the millions of illegals had even been there.

Tare down that fence Uncle Sam and let that natural sage brush beauty reign.

Ernest on April 24, 2008 at 10:26 AM

“conservatives don’t oppose the correct use of eminent domain to secure the country’s borders”

Real conservatives do, faux “conservatives” do not.

Land seizure in this case is simply wrong all around, as it also would render the surrounding land useless as well.

Our problems with illegals go back to the employers of them and our overarching welfare state. As long as those two things exist, illegals will come here no matter how many fences and moats we build.

A fence would take billions to build/maintain. I thought conservatives were against the expansion of government and against useless government programs?

This fence idea is as loopy as some of the stuff the left comes up with. Conservatives should recognize that.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 10:36 AM

A physical fence doesn’t stop them either. Put one up and within a week you have dozens of holes through it. How much does the fence material cost? Now how much does a plasma torch cost in a Mexican hardware store? You can spend millions putting up a physical fence that can be effectively breeched for about a hundred bucks.

A physical fence is an absolutely moronic waste of cash on our part. It is a never ending maintenance nightmare that sucks money forever. The problem we are seeing right now with the virtual fence are technology problems that can be overcome. I would rather see a fence where there is nothing that the people crossing it can destroy.

crosspatch on April 24, 2008 at 10:38 AM

$20,000,000 boondoggle for Boeing. What a bunch of dumbasses Bush has saddled us with.

And yeah, I’d be thrilled to have the government build a huge fence along one side of my private property if it would keep criminals from traipsing across it. I’ve seen the tons and tons of trash that the illegals leave along the border, and heard that they also leave lots of human waste in their wake.

To keep that off my yard? Hell yes bring the backhoe, and the excavator, and a crane if need be.

funky chicken on April 24, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Property owners on the border have no constitutional right to stop the government from putting up the fence. What they can do is force the government to initiate condemnation proceedings and pay them for a fence easement across the southern edge of their property. Surely the government budgeted for fence easements…

That’s correct, Outlander, except for one detail. In Texas, the fence will be built well north of border, so it will go through private property, not just along the southern edge. Some people’s land is going to wind up on the south side of the fence, too. Also, the fence could potentially cut some people off from their agricultural and tourism water rights–the water in the Rio Grande is a an extremely valuable property asset–it’s not just a line across the desert. The government should compensate landowners for any loss of value they sustain if they lose access to the river.

So yes, the government can and will seize private property through eminent domain, but it will take time, and it will be a very contentious process–as it should be. It should never be easy for the government to seize private property.

juliesa on April 24, 2008 at 10:41 AM

crosspatch on April 24, 2008 at 10:38 AM

So the cost of repairing the holes, which for sake of argument is 1000 holes five feet wide (1 mile), is more then the cost of a 2100 mile hole? The medical services, social network, etc?

Same argument with the ‘digger’ defense. 1000 tunnels? Those tunnels will hardly support the same amount of traffic as a 2100 mile hole. In addition they can only be dug along part of that 2100 mile stretch. Try digging through the hardrock that likes under the thin sands of the desert SW.

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 10:44 AM

crosspatch. A force field then? snort

A fence would ruin the beauty of the South Arizona desert? LOL Now you sound like Fat Teddy and JF Querrie crying that the wind farm off Nantucket might have ruined their view of the ocean, and would mess up their favorite sailing spot.

National security is a wee bit more important than a desert vista, and down that way, desert vistas are not exactly in short supply.

funky chicken on April 24, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Stop the jobs and arrest the perps that stay.

Johan Klaus on April 24, 2008 at 10:49 AM

What the hell is go frakkin evil(or hard) about filling out a form and waiting for your visa?

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 10:50 AM

A lot of the desert southwest doesn’t have soil like you’re thinking about. We had to rent a jackhammer to plant a tree in our yard.

Many southern Arizona soils have layers of caliche either on or under the surface. Caliche is a layer of soil in which the soil particles have been cemented together by lime (calcium carbonate, CaCO3).

Caliche is usually found as a light-colored layer in the soil or as white or cream-colored concretions (lumps) mixed with the soil. Layers will vary in thickness from a few inches to several feet, and there may be more than one caliche layer in the soil.

http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/soils/caliche.html

funky chicken on April 24, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Let’s see…so far proponents of a physical fence are “insane”, “moronic”, “stupid”, “loopy”, “faux-conservatives”. Classy debate fellas. You’re really helping your argument there.

A camera doesn’t do anything if the government can’t chase criminals onto private land, either. A physical fence at least provide SOME capability at slowing the tide and hopefully preventing most from ever getting across and onto private land. I won’t argue virtual vs. physical. I say build them both! I concede that a physical fence will require maintenance and repairs. But I take issue with the claim that it is a “needless” expansion of government, or that border patrol is a “useless government program”. If anything it will help our Border Patrol be MORE efficient and effective.

No doubt they’ll try to tear it down. But that CAN be managed also. A proper virtual fence behind the physical fence with quick response teams utilized will reduce the attempts at vandalism and illegal destruction of the border fence.

It’s simply tyranny for the feds to forcibly seize private property for the purpose of building some worthless fence.

Straw man. For crying out loud, there is a thing called “Due Process”. They’re not storming in there with guns and killing land owners.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Regarding the trash issue, in Texas, since the fence will be built well north of the actual border, the trash will likely pile up on the south side of the fence–in Texas. The majority of the US-Mexico border is along the Texas border.

I’m not saying a fence can’t or shouldn’t be built. I’m only pointing out that it’s not as simple as fence advocates think. And once it’s built, it will still have be patrolled and repaired daily, os it’s not a one-time cost.

juliesa on April 24, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Land seizure in this case is simply wrong all around, as it also would render the surrounding land useless as well.

Useless for what…traffic?

Our problems with illegals go back to the employers of them and our overarching welfare state. As long as those two things exist, illegals will come here no matter how many fences and moats we build.

At least you agree that they’re a problem, but crimping off the jobs won’t stop illegals from crossing the border to use our emergency rooms and drop anchor babies.

A fence would take billions to build/maintain. I thought conservatives were against the expansion of government and against useless government programs?

This fence idea is as loopy as some of the stuff the left comes up with. Conservatives should recognize that.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Our military has taken billions to build/maintain, too. It’s one of the necessary functions of government to maintain sovereignty. You have conservatives mixed up with libertarians. Libertarians want almost no government at all…conservatives don’t go overboard on that idea.

crosspatch on April 24, 2008 at 10:38 AM

The idea of a border fence isn’t to make the border airtight. It’s to allow the Border Patrol to catch more than discarded trash…whether by funneling illegal crossers to the path of least resistance where they can be caught in predictable places (hey, someone made a hole, let’s go through there instead of making our own!) or by having enough time to respond to a hole being cut before they get to run off into our desert.

And besides, while repairs will have to be made, so would repairs have to be made on a technological solution.

James on April 24, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Another take is that the United States military already has a virtual fence system that is deployed in hard to patrol areas, and it WORKS already. It doesn’t involve 300 ft towers rising out of the ground.

They are the size and shape of a 105mm artillery round, that are stuck in the ground. These super sensitive seismometers all report to a central pick up point. Think of it as dirt sonar. You just have to train the operators to distinguish the difference between mule deer and plodding size 10s.

I’d go for a compromise. Put up the physical fence where we can and use the Army system where we can’t.

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 11:09 AM

As julesa posted

“Also, the fence could potentially cut some people off from their agricultural and tourism water rights–the water in the Rio Grande is a an extremely valuable property asset–it’s not just a line across the desert.”

So it’s not a matter of inconvenience, it would be a matter of seizing land from families who have owned this land for generations and who use it for their livelihood. And also rendering their unseized land, almost worthless. That’s tyranny, plain and simple.

If a fence is necessary across the Mexican border, why not then the Canadian border? And our coasts? We do have a small body of water known as “the Gulf of Mexico”, are we going to build a fence there too?

The illegals have shown themselves to be tremendously resourceful and I don’t want the US to spend billions on a fence, only to find out it’s useless, which is exactly what’s going to happen.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 11:15 AM

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 11:15 AM

When the Canadians begin bankrupting our hospitals I’ll be all for that Canadian fence.

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 11:21 AM

You know…… If my back yard was the border I would have already:
1) built a moat
2) put up the razor wire
3) bought all of the anti-personnel mines I could and plant them and
4) figured out a way to obtain some remote controlled 7.62mm mini guns.

ic1redeye on April 24, 2008 at 11:23 AM

I just can’t wrap my head around the no-fence argument.

We HAVE a system in place that allows every single person in Mexico to come here, work here, live here WITH OUR HARDY WELCOME ABOARD attached to it.

What do we get? ‘Screw-that’ is what we get.

As for the eminent domain argument…good luck keeping those property rights you fought so hard for when land redistribution comes to town on the back of a reform candidate. Democracy trumps all those rights….right?

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 11:36 AM

The only way this system will work is if the Virtual Fence applies an electrical charge to the donut box whenever an illegal crosser is detected.

I have said it before… People who advocate a “Virtual Fence” will inevitably say that there is “too much” illegal immigration. This means that there is another, lower, level of illegal immigration that is “just right”.

What a Virtual Fence allows you to do is let a certain number of illegal immigrants cross over a period of time, and then make efforts to stop any additional crossers. This means the government can then dial in the “just right” level of illegal immigration, so we can avoid having too much.

Of course, this is stupid and unfair and unjust, but what about the Federal Government is not? If your typical MS-13 gangbanger is the fifth crosser in his sector this month, he would be home free, while the illegal immigrant who is returning to his taxpaying job he has held for the last ten years as a citizen in all but name would be stopped because he happened to cross after the quota has been filled.

Fences, on the other hand, are designed to eliminate illegal crossing. They are an all or nothing thing. That is why they are better. There is no “just right” level of illegal immigration above zero.

gridlock2 on April 24, 2008 at 11:36 AM

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 11:15 AM
When the Canadians begin bankrupting our hospitals I’ll be all for that Canadian fence.

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 11:21 AM

And when the Asians (or whoever) flood uncontrollably across our Pacific coast by the tens of millions and march down our streets waving their flags in our faces and demanding free government services, I’ll be for that one too.

Let us please talk in realities.

I am sensitive the point that has been raised about land owners livelihoods on the border, but I propose that this national security interest trumps that – sorry. I know, easy for me to say when it doesn’t affect me, right….it does affect me, that’s the problem. It has an effect on all of us. And don’t be fooled, many of those landowners share allegiance with Mexico and have political motives in this debate, they’re not just Joe-average-constitutionalists down there. Same with elected officials in the towns, counties and districts in Southern Texas. It’s highly corrupt, so you may read an article that people are opposed, but don’t forget to ask why.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 11:39 AM

If you want water access, it’s called pipes and pumps.

If you want wildlife crossing areas, it’s called a 250′ opening with a patrol station in the middle either manned or with video.

If you worry about tunnels, put seismic monitors at points of concern; it’s not like those things can be dug in a week. I’d note that half the border has a river on it and tunnels are not going to be a big issue there.

There are all sorts of mitigation measures for addressing the one very effective method for stopping illegal immigration. Just build the fence.

Oh, and if you want scenic beauty, you can either walk down to the fence and look north or save some money so you can visit China to see the Great Wall, it’s absolutely marvelous.

Dusty on April 24, 2008 at 11:40 AM

This story first came out awhile ago. Why is it being recycled now? Just wondering.
Back when it did come out I think the amount poured into it was larger ($27mil I think). Something strange about this.

thegreatbeast on April 24, 2008 at 11:43 AM

“addressing the one very effective method for stopping illegal immigration. Just build the fence.”

Sure it will be effective. Just like every other government program.

And it will come in under budget too, right?

This really is like arguing with leftists.

Call it what you will, but there’s nothing “conservative” or even American about a physical fence across the Mexican border.

It’s a totalitarian in method and in practice.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 11:47 AM

one thing I’ve learned on government contracts…it’s usually the customers fault that a product is less than exemplary.

pecan pie on

Either Chertoff is a stupid and incompetent idiot to not identify exactly what he is studying, or he knew exactly what it was with all of its limitations and went with it in order to frustrate concerned Americans in hopes of making those concerned give up, give in, quit demanding CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY.
maverick

There is no one in our government that wants us to have a protected southern border. An effective fence and immigration policy that remove the illegals from among us would cost too many companies more than they are willing to pay in labor costs. Chertoff would throw away ten million away any day of the week if it would keep up the flow of cheap labor. I’m sure enough AQ types have gotten in by now to make another major terror attack inevetible. When that happens there will be a distinguished panel, who don’t care why it happened, that will try to figure out why it happened. And once again we’ll have a lot of dead people and a fat, meaningless report. And our elected representatives will continue to get the vast majority of their pay from K Street. And K Street will continue to get all the cheap, illegal labor they want. And maybe after four or five successful attacks Congress will get serious about defense. But they won’t rush into it because they don’t care about Americans dying. They’re worried about the people who sign their checks. And those checks come from K Street. And your blogisphere can cover all kinds of news that doesn’t usually get covered but K Street is news to the blogisphere.

snaggletoothie on April 24, 2008 at 12:29 PM

[NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 11:47 AM]

The fence is not a government program, it’s a project that’s part of a program, the program being controlling access to the country to further our policy of securing the nation by upholding our laws so we may maintain our liberty.

I drive carefully, so why should our totalitarian government impose traffic lights on me. Or closer to home, why do they impose building construction standards on me and require me to get permits or make me put numbers on my house. Why do they make us provide storm water drainage easements or instigate takings so as to widen roads?

I’d rather argue with leftists than utopian style libertarians, because the former, like conservatives, at least, believe in the societal responsibilities which, by the way, is the basis of “We the People ….” That said, I do understand there are issues and problems border property owners have that need to be mitigated, but I haven’t seen any as yet that can’t be.

Dusty on April 24, 2008 at 12:55 PM

How did private land owners EVER have ownership rights to the right-of-way along the border?

Because they owned the land there before it became the border. The birder wasn’t established until 1848 (later for the Gadsden purchase). Land ownership goes back long before that time. People defended their land from Indians and bandits before the Rio Grande became the border.

juliesa on April 24, 2008 at 1:09 PM

So I guess to be a “conservative” I have to support:

1) The building of a border fence complete w/machine gun towers
2) The confiscation of private property for the building of said border fence
3) The election of a Democrat to the White House

Check. Since 1-3 are pretty much linear, I’m wondering what steps 4 and 5 are?

Rounding up the Trotskyites and the forced collectivization of agriculture seem to be the logical follow-ons, but I’m new at this and could use some help. I want to be a team player here.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 1:33 PM

This is bullshit.

Indy Conservative on April 24, 2008 at 7:54 AM

You do have a way of boiling thinks down to their essence. All the best criminal investigators do that. You should go far in this world, as long as some politician doesn’t have you assassinated anyway, so be careful.

Holmes on April 24, 2008 at 2:12 PM

Because they owned the land there before it became the border. The birder wasn’t established until 1848 (later for the Gadsden purchase). Land ownership goes back long before that time. People defended their land from Indians and bandits before the Rio Grande became the border.

juliesa on April 24, 2008 at 1:09 PM

I understand that people owned land there before it became the border, but I don’t understand why Congress didn’t establish a mile wide easement along said border when it was established.

So I guess to be a “conservative” I have to support:

1) The building of a border fence complete w/machine gun towers

I think sniper rifles would be better don’t you?

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 2:21 PM

“I think sniper rifles would be better don’t you?”

Yes sir, Colonel Jessup. I need you on that wall.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Yes sir, Colonel Jessup. I need you on that wall.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 2:34 PM

More than you know.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 2:36 PM

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 1:33 PM

The problem here in Texas is that the same politicians that are arguing against the fence using the eminent domain argument are the same ones that are all for the Trans-Texas corridor, which would steal alot more land than the border fence strictly for business purposes. I am torn on the eminent domain issues along the border so I would like to see a patchwork fence where those that allow it would build a real fence and the others would have the criminal aliens funneled across their land until they gave up and let the government build across their land. The Israelis have a virtual fence that works pretty well along most of their borders. The main difference is that they can have the military there in under 5 minutes to capture the intruders. We don’t have enough border agents to cover the whole border that way. Where the real fence has been tried, it worked. Part of that is there are easier place to cross so they went to the easier places. If we can get most of the border covered without taking property by eminent domain then we should. Then cover the gaps with either virtual fence or with more patrols. But having the real fence will funnel the criminals to these choke points. But even with the fence we need to crack down on businesses that are hiring these people.

Corsair on April 24, 2008 at 2:45 PM

I despise the thought of a physical fence along the border. It smacks of totalitarianism.

To me, you solve this problem at the lowest level. I like how states are cracking down on employers, etc. If they can’t get jobs here and they can’t get welfare/etc. here, then they won’t come here. As long as they can get those things, they will get in, fence or not.

Same with terrorists. They’ll just come through Canada, on a boat or overstay some phony tourist visa.

The feds are notoriously inept and any fence will be wildly overpriced and sadly ineffective.

I have more faith in a virtual fence and a private contractor.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 2:57 PM

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 2:57 PM

I don’t know where you get totalitarianism from this. Where in building a border fence is the government imposing complete control over ALL aspects of our lives? …or any aspect for that matter? Actually, I think an argument could be made for the opposite. In letting the uncontrolled flow continue AND THEN TAXING ME TO SUBSIDIZE the welfare of these people, that smacks more of an authoritarian state than building a fence to keep our economy strong and our people safe from criminals.

Believe it or not I agree with you on many points. I agree that the Government is highly inept. I also agree that a crackdown at the local level is necessary to turn off the magnet. I further agree that terrorists will find other means to enter the country. The biggest difference I suppose is that I won’t call you a faux-conservative for disagreeing with me.

But, you have remember the scale of this problem. We are talking about millions of people and allowing the uncontrolled entry of burglars, thiefs, rapists, human slave traders, drug traffickers, etc. Our prisons are crowded with illegal aliens that shouldn’t even BE here. You can’t just attack this at the employment site or welfare office, although it should include that.

In order to practically address a problem you must define it. The biggest problem is the millions of poor, unskilled, uneducated, many times criminal people who WALK into this country. Most of these are not people who are just going to go around to Canada. If they find other means, then we’ll have to address that then, won’t we.

In the meantime, lets stick with the obvious solution that has been proven to work everywhere it has been implemented – a fence.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 3:22 PM

Put simply, I don’t want the symbol of my country to be a 2,000 mile long fence. Just don’t want it. Put it up and that’s what it will be, make no mistake about it. Ugly, abhorrent, the antithesis of freedom and liberty.

It has nothing to do with the founding principles of this country and what sets us apart as a nation from the Islamic troglodyte states and the Chinese communists, etc.

“The biggest problem is the millions of poor, unskilled, uneducated, many times criminal people who WALK into this country.”

Do you really think that a physical fence is going to deeply impact those numbers? Because I don’t. What about the Gulf of Mexico? All you’re doing is making it a little more inconvenient.

The feds have tried for decades to block the importation of literally tons of illegal drugs at a time, how’s that working out? Crack cocaine is no longer a big problem, only because it’s so cheap that it’s not worth anyone fighting over turf any longer. A vile of crack is cheaper than a gallon of gas.

I’m with you on enforcing existing laws regarding employment and criminals, etc., and getting tougher with the Mexican government.

But a physical fence, I cannot support that. The huge amount of resources and political capital it will take to build it could be better used elsewhere. The reason Republican Party politicians don’t embrace it because they know it makes no sense whatsoever, but they don’t have the guts to tell it to their base.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 3:42 PM

[NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 2:57 PM]

Now see, the problem with arguing with you on this is that you are being illogical about it.

On the one hand, when discussing the one item that will be the most effective border control feature with the least effort and cost, i.e., a sturdy physical barrier to crossing the border, you say the Feds are notoriously inept.

But, on the other hand say, you want them to perform it in the at the lowest level which also happens to be the most complicated, time intensive way that has highest ongoing yearly budget, i.e., constant monitoring of every major aspect of our lives, including the associated paper work, and most likely a need for an national identity card. And you want to do that because they feds are, what, notoriously inept? Shouldn’t we apply the “feds are notoriously inept” to employer crackdowns as well as “they can’t get welfare? Should we apply it to overstayed tourist visas whether there is a virtual fence or not and “They’ll just come through Canada”, too?

Or should I infer from this last comment, you prefer the individual states to spend state taxpayers’ money on a federal responsibility, like let’s say, Oklahoma and Louisiana or Arizona and Oregon having to do it because Texans and Californians either don’t want to or some or their residents think it smacks of totalitarianism. What do you do if individual states change administrations from ‘law and order’ to ‘sanctuary state’ from time to time.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by having more faith in a private contractor. To do what? Build the fence? Manage related enforcement by the states? Secure the border?

It seems to me your big concern is the necessity of building the fence on private property and which is the least intrusive to those property owners, not which is the most effective in preventing illegal border crossings. Leastways that is how it appears to from the structure and persuasiveness of your arguments.

Dusty on April 24, 2008 at 3:56 PM

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 2:57 PM

I don’t know where you get totalitarianism from this.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 3:22 PM

It comes from what I call “The believing six impossible things before breakfast” syndrome. That’s where it comes from. So now you know.

Sigy on April 24, 2008 at 4:00 PM

“you want them to perform it in the at the lowest level”

I want the states and localities to perform these functions, NOT the feds. The feds can barely get out of their own way, the only thing the feds do that works well is the military and that’s because it’s not exclusively controlled by boneheaded federal employees.

Besides, the states and the localities know the employers. The feds aren’t going to know who’s hiring illegals in an area of a million square miles are so but the locals do.

Your reference to the states changing admins could just as well apply to the feds. Every time we get a Democrat in the White House or a Democrat Congress, fence maintenance and upkeep will not be funded.

Whereas the states and localities that care about keeping out illegal immigrants, will care about it no matter who is voted into office. With how far left California is, does anyone truly think that Democrats in the state won’t continue to roll out the welcome mat for illegals anyway, no matter what the feds do? Much of this is a matter of jurisdiction anyway. If California law enforcement won’t turn over Mexican criminals to ICE, then what good is a fence going to do?

And if California elected officials don’t care about illegal immigrants and paying for their upkeep, why should I pay for the feds to do something that the state residents don’t want? Why should feds be chasing around the illegals that California state politicians welcome and will continue to welcome, fence or no fence.

I would support legislation to cut of federal funds to states that would go to support the upkeep of illegals? Of course. And unless actions like that are taken, it won’t matter how many fences are built.

The fence idea is doomed to failure and I don’t want a failed, costly fence to become the symbol of my country. There are legislative methods within reach to deal with the problem and there is an opportunity cost attached to all of this ultimately fruitless effort aimed at building a physical fence.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 4:13 PM

Put simply, I don’t want the symbol of my country to be a 2,000 mile long fence. Just don’t want it. Put it up and that’s what it will be, make no mistake about it. Ugly, abhorrent, the antithesis of freedom and liberty.

Does your yard have a fence? Is it really that offensive? Is it a symbol of totalitarianism in your neighborhood?

A border should be by its definition be a barrier. I don’t have a problem with people who want to propagandize that as a symbol of hatred or fear. The truth will prevail, and the truth is that it would be constructed to ENSURE liberty and freedom to all those within and those who cross it legally.

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Do you really think that a physical fence is going to deeply impact those numbers? Because I don’t. What about the Gulf of Mexico? All you’re doing is making it a little more inconvenient.

You just admitted that a fence would be effective.

The feds have tried for decades to block the importation of literally tons of illegal drugs at a time, how’s that working out?

Perhaps that’s because our border is so easily crossed?

pecan pie on April 24, 2008 at 4:20 PM

This is bullshit.

Indy Conservative on April 24, 2008 at 7:54 AM

You do have a way of boiling thinks down to their essence. All the best criminal investigators do that. You should go far in this world, as long as some politician doesn’t have you assassinated anyway, so be careful.

Holmes on April 24, 2008 at 2:12 PM

Got ya! :-)

Indy Conservative on April 24, 2008 at 5:11 PM