Homeland Security Struggling to Complete Border Fence
Posted by Joshua Price on March 6, 2008
This is from South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s Senate website:
In September 2006, Congress overwhelmingly passed and the President signed a bill that required 700 miles of reinforced fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The “Complete the Fence Act” will require DHS to complete the 700 miles fence by December 31, 2010, using only reinforced pedestrian fencing, not vehicle barriers or “virtual” fencing.
In direct conflict with the requirements set by Congress in 2006, DHS Secretary Chertoff has recently attempted to count vehicle barriers that stand only a few feet high and can easily be walked around as part of total fencing completed. DHS claims to have completed 302 miles of fencing by counting 134 miles of vehicle barriers. DHS has actually only completed 167 miles of physical, pedestrian fencing.
Last week, at a U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee hearing, U.S. Border Patrol officials admitted that the “virtual fencing”, which was to account for nearly 300 miles of the 700 mile fence, is not working as promised and will not be operational for at least 3 more years. The technology encountered numerous problems that included: software integration, synching cameras with the radar systems, trouble identifying objects among desert trees, rain interference, and easy targets for drug traffickers to disable.
So DHS is counting vehicle barriers as part of the fence?
There are a lot of good folks at DHS but I’m getting frustrated with the CYA attitude there. It starts at the top and Chertoff and has been a failure.
I am not going to sugarcoat it just because he was appointed by Bush. We don’t a lawyer running DHS; we need someone who with security experience.
At least the true conservatives in the Senate like Sen. DeMint are keeping an eye on this issue and putting forth acceptable ideas to solve the problem:
March 5th, 2008 – Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) introduced the “Complete the Fence Act” that will require the completion of 700 miles of reinforced pedestrian fencing along the nation’s southern border by December 31, 2010. The bill also requires the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to report to Congress by June 2009 on fence construction progress and how it plans to complete the full fence by the 2010 deadline.
“Americans demand a secure border and the first step is to complete the fence,” said Senator DeMint. “Our nation’s borders are fundamental to our national security and our sovereignty, and we can’t delay any longer. If we want to have a legal immigration system that works, we must have a secure border so we know who is entering and leaving the United States.”
DeMint goes on to say:
“Border security cannot wait any longer and we cannot depend on failed virtual fencing or vehicle barriers that won’t stop pedestrians,” said Senator DeMint. “We must keep our promise to America and build a real fence to secure our borders immediately.”
He’s 100% right. Vehicle barriers aren’t going to cut it.