Obama Administration Ends High-Tech Border Fence

Last week the Obama Administration put an end to a high tech border fence covering only 53 miles of a projected 2,000 miles between the United States and Mexico that was costing American tax payers nearly a billion dollars.

Suzanne Gamboa of The Associated Press has the full story here:

The Obama administration on Friday ended a high-tech border fence project that cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion but did little to improve security. Congress ordered the high-tech fence along the border with Mexico in 2006 amid a clamor over the porous border, but it yielded only 53 miles of protection.

Putting an end to the funding of such a high tech border fence highlights the difficulty of finding a cost effective and successful way of limiting the entrance of undocumented immigrants into the country:

Although it has been well known that the virtual fence project would be dumped, Napolitano officially informed key members of Congress Friday that an "independent, quantitative, science-based review made clear" the fence, known as SBInet, "cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border security technology solution."

While the high tech nature of the fence was initially a selling point, after tests revealed that at 15 million dollars a mile, the fence was too expensive to implement fully:

The fence, initiated in 2005, was to be a network of cameras, ground sensors and radars that would be used to spot incursions or problems and decide where to deploy Border Patrol agents. It was supposed to be keeping watch over most of this nation's southern border with Mexico by this year.  Instead, taxpayers ended up with about 53 miles of operational "virtual fence" in Arizona for a cost of at least $15 million a mile, according to testimony in previous congressional hearings.

All of this speaks to the problem that legislators run into when working towards the nebulous concept of securing the border, without moving forward on dealing with businesses that hire undocumented immigrants and the current number of immigrants who live in the United States, or working together on a federally passed overhaul of our immigration system then the result will continue to be the continued flow of undocumented labor into the country. 

It is somewhat ironic that the state that has the stretch of operational virtual border fence is Arizona. Arizona, more so then any other state in America has gone out of its way to pass more punitive anti immigration enforcement laws than any other state, and now has a stretch of the most highly advanced border technology in the world, and to hear the Republican controlled state legislator tell it Arizona is still considered a "porous" border.

At what point, at what amount of money do legislators need to spend on enforcement only before they realize that all the technology, all of the draconian enforcement laws passed in the world will not stop people from coming over, without moving on a federal overhaul of immigration laws.