Patterico's Pontifications


Virtual Border Fence Doesn’t Work

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 9:08 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The US is scrapping plans for a virtual fence on the Southern border because it doesn’t work:

“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.

Boeing is to replace the so-called Project 28 prototype with a series of towers equipped with communications systems, new cameras and new radar capability, officials said.

Less than a week after Chertoff accepted Project 28 on Feb. 22, the Government Accountability Office told Congress it “did not fully meet user needs and the project’s design will not be used as the basis for future” developments.

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.”

Here’s a thought: Build a real fence. Low tech fences work.


28 Responses to “Virtual Border Fence Doesn’t Work”

  1. “… Low tech fences work.”

    Which of course is why the Bush administration doesn’t like them.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  2. DRJ, that is just a crazy idea. Low-tech, schmow-tech. Next you’re gonna tell us we can lower our electric bills by simply turning lights off instead of installing solar panels or something. We don’t want to hear that.

    Andy (09ab51)

  3. How can Americans be suffering in jobless Hoover Depression economy yet at the same time insist the southern borders remain open so that millions of undocumented workers can find jobs?

    This is a little like people complaining about the high price of gasoline all the while demanding the energy industry be stripped of all ability to provide energy.

    syn (1017f1)

  4. DRJ – This might be the most objectively and demonstrably racist post you have ever done.

    JD (5f0e11)

  5. Since they’re scrapping it, my first thought is that, like Mr. Shearer asserts in #1, maybe the VBF worked quite a bit better than projected. (Boeing is a capable company, after all)
    Can’t have that.

    No mention of what it will replace it. No mention. None at all.

    A real fence probably wouldn’t work against Russian agents or Drug Cartels, but against impoverished people with little education, money or resources? C’mon.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  6. Not much available in the way of kickbacks with a low-tech fence, I’m thinking…

    mojo (8096f2)

  7. Yeah give the design of a broadband real time video surveillance network to a bunch of guys who build airplanes and you are surprised it did not work?

    Three leviathans who have no clue of how to build this, hamstrung by a requirement that 40% of the contract be subcontracted to minority firms and they were only a year late delivering a non-functioning prototype. Heck this contract was doomed from the beginning. Award this contract to people who know imaging and data communications.

    Not a Yank (a47dbe)

  8. Wonder where they’ll hold the salvage sale for all the stuff that “doesn’t” work?

    Somebody in Industrial/Commercial Security is going to make a killing with all that hardware.

    Of course, there is an end-less line now of the nay-sayers that Chertoff refused to listen to.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  9. wow there’s a surprise. A fence built by an Aerospace company didn’t work out.

    gabriel (6d7447)

  10. “… Low tech fences work.”

    Which is exactly what the government disputed when they pulled out the numbskulled idea of a virtual fence.

    I think that we would get better performance from virtual bureaucrats and virtual politicians.

    trentk269 (3d3bfe)

  11. Low tech fences work, but what’s even better is a low-tech fence supported by the high-tech surveillance gear.

    The idea that we could have a “high tech” fence without the low-tech fence is ridiculous, because it requires a huge number of border patrol agents to grab everyone who comes across anyway.

    The most important thing is to take away incentives for being here in the first place (by cracking down on employers, and then possibly housing providers). Once we reduce the number of “good” illegals (who work hard and whatnot) the “bad” illegals will not be able to hide so easily.

    “Deport the criminals first” only makes sense insofar as criminals are the only people we have to deport: ordinary hardworking illegals will go home if they can’t work here. We don’t need to deport them. That’s also why “you can’t deport us all” rhetoric fails.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  12. How about we adopt the Chinese “fence” method? They seem to have built a fine fence.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  13. At bit of a surprise. Normally, when a government program fails, the government responds by increasing the program’s funding.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  14. And this is a surpise to… whom?

    The only reason they did anything at all is the public wanted it so badly. Now that the spotlight is off it’s time to drown the baby, throw up our hands and say it’s impossible to secure the border. Impossible, I say!

    Eric (09e4ab)

  15. 11

    “… by cracking down on employers …”

    This assumes employers are breaking the law which for the most part they are not. You first have to change the law to make it harder to employ illegals legally. Currently employers are allowed (in fact required) to accept easily forged forms of ID.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  16. JBS…
    The crack-down on employers seems to work just fine in AZ – they have illegals bailing right & left.
    If they had a real fence along the AZ-Mexico border, the illegals would be complainging that they couldn’t get back into Mexico.
    If we actually required employers everywhere to check the status of their new-hires (and everybody on staff after a certain date), plus put real sanctions in the law against them (as AZ has done), the Golden Magnet would lose all of its’ draw.
    Who knows, then we might actually be able to deal with the transit in contraband that is wrecking our society.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  17. JD comments DRJ – This might be the most objectively and demonstrably racist post you have ever done.

    What the heck is that! DRJ writes a post that says a border fence doesn’t work and that’s a <demonstrably racist post? Either JD has his tongue in his cheek, or his head somewhere that the sun doesn’t shine.

    I grow very tired of the casual use of the word “racist”. Too many people sprinkle that pejorative term in their conversation as casually as they sprinkle white salt and black pepper over their scrambled eggs.

    Mike Myers (31af82)

  18. 16

    I am not sure what we are arguing about. Cracking down on employers can be effective if you have a strong law against employing illegals as apparently Arizona now has. However the current federal law against hiring illegals is a joke. So a federal crackdown will be ineffective without a change in federal law (or possibly regulations).

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  19. Mike Myers,

    I’m sure he’s kidding. Right, JD?

    Perfect Sense,

    Heh – that’s funny. And sadly true.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  20. As we repeatedly see, the Feds are not interested in getting their hands dirty on this issue. The only hope is to do it state by state, along the AZ model. Plus, since most businesses are intra-state, the Feds don’t have a dog in this hunt – at least, if you read the Commerce Clause as it was written, and the Supremes are now starting to re-interpret it. It is truly too bad that we can’t just make Congress go stand in the corner, and STFU!
    When you threaten, and actually do, jerk their business licenses, business owner’s start to listen. Particularly when you have a permanent revocation feature for repeat offenders (and, I would make it very hard for a principal to be re-licensed too, in any kind of business – maybe a stiff bond requirement?).

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  21. I agree that this issue is, has been, and will be driven from the local level up.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  22. DRJ – But of course.

    Mike M – I have a pet theory, premised on your notion, that since the other side of the aisle throws terms like racist, sexist, homophobe around, they dilute the actual meaning of this word to the point that it is meaningless. Since these terms are rarely used properly, I use them in this manner to highlight their absurdity, and to hasten the devolution into meaninglessness. It will remove an arrow from the Left’s quiver. Kind of tilting at a windmill, I know.

    JD (5f0e11)

  23. If you call me, inaccurately, a derogatory term long enough, I just don’t care anymore, and I will push the envelope (and your buttons) on that issue as much as I can. You’ve already called me X, what more can you do?

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  24. Minefield

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  25. JD – I agree that those on the left throw the “racist” etc. terms around improperly and absurdly. However, I would add that the terms are not meant to expose actual racist behavior or to make any relevant point.

    The terms are successful for the left precisely because they stifle debate and frame the argument in an accusatory way that demands an “explanation” from the accused. Remember, leftist thought can only survive unchallenged, and that is the true focus of any conversation emanating from the left. There can be no debate for there is no real defense.

    Which explains the prime methodology for leftist propagandists – the “drive-by” or firebomb approach, followed immediately by accusation, distraction or negation. To debate would mean the actual addressing of points, with the necessity of concession on lost points, and to the propagandist, that is defeat. Therefore, there can be no debate.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  26. “Who knows, then we might actually be able to deal with the transit in contraband that is wrecking our society.

    Comment by Another Drew — 4/23/2008 @ 2:11 pm “

    But then where would all the Hollywood liberals get their recreational chemical substances? We can’t have that. There goes all their creativity!!!

    Jay Curtis (8f6541)

  27. Yeh, current box-office numbers demonstrate the height of that creativity.
    Maybe they’re already having a stimulant shortage in Hollyweird?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  28. Thats where we use a moat filled with moat monsters and a special type of fence that will disintagrate anyome who touches it

    krazy kagu (ec436a)

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