Border Fantasies

Members of Congress who voted for the Southwest border fence as the fix for illegal immigration professed shock — shock at the news that the project is running years behind, and billions of dollars ahead, of the Bush administration’s early, rosy projections.


Auditors reported last week that the high-tech, 28-mile “virtual” section of the fence was running a mere seven years behind this month’s planned opening. Initially, designers talked of using off-the-shelf technology for the radar, cameras and other sensors, but problems cropped up. (Imagine, discovering that cameras tremble in rough weather.) “I’m trying to figure out why this is so difficult,” said Representative Michael McCaul of Texas. “These are basically cameras on a pole.”

The current cost estimate for the Buck Rogers barrier? $1.1 billion.

Investigators from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office report that the larger, actual fence — covering a 600 mile-plus stretch between San Diego and Brownsville, Tex. — cost $2.4 billion to build and will cost an extra $6.5 billion in upkeep across two decades.

Investigators also concluded that there’s no good way of gauging the effectiveness of the fence.

The current decline in border arrests could be because of the bad economy as much as the fence (which the innovative have already learned to breach with cutters, torches and ladders). Even then, the fence covers only the more manageable third of the border with Mexico.

Members of the House border security subcommittee voiced grave concern but didn’t peer much beyond fencing technology to the more complex reality: the need for Congress to reform the nation’s immigration laws. No fence can keep a determined immigrant out or absolve Congress of that responsibility.

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.