It’s official, the virtual border fence with Mexico is now dead and we’re back to square one

Posted on January 14, 2011

Not that I’m surprised given all the technical trouble they’ve been having with it and the fact that the Obama administration actually had stopped work on it entirely,  but this now puts us back at square one:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Friday that she has canceled the troubled virtual fence project along the southwest border, proposing a new plan which she claims will better address each region’s border security needs. 

Napolitano said her department briefed members of Congress on Friday about the final decision to nix the program “as originally conceived.” But she said DHS will pursue a “new path forward” for security along the 2,000-mile southern U.S. border. The secretary said that while the U.S. cannot provide a “single, integrated border security technology solution,” the new plan will use different technologies in different areas. 

That could mean a system of surveillance towers in one area and unmanned drones in another. It could mean thermal imaging in one area and elements of the old SBInet plan in another. 

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to meet our border technology needs, and this new strategy is tailored to the unique needs of each border region, providing faster deployment of technology, better coverage, and a more effective balance between cost and capability,” Napolitano said. 

Four years and $672 million dollars later, it seems we are no closer to the goal of making sure our border is secure.   

That $672 million would have paid for quite a bit of traditional fencing and even a significant amount of additional border patrol agents. But traditional fences, and even components of the virtual fence upset the environmentalists because these fences would disturb the natural migration patterns of animals indigenous to the area.   These same environmentalists are virtually mum on the destruction of natural habitat by hundreds of thousands of people trudging through the area.  Each of these illegal immigrants are believed to be carrying about 8 pounds of trash, and estimates are that 2000 TONS of migrant trash is deposited each year on the southern border.  So much trash has been left that a website has been setup  by the Arizona state government calling for volunteers to help clean up the trash left in southern Arizona. Where are the environmentalists calling our border a “natural disaster?” 

So here we sit, our state becoming a large wastebin, waiting for Ms. Napolitano’s plan of a “new path forward.” Meanwhile four county employees in Texas were shot at from across the border by a Mexican gunman:

Authorities say workers who were repairing a road near the U.S.-Mexican border in West Texas were fired upon by an unknown gunman in Mexico.

Hudspeth County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Doyal says a crew of four county employees was working on the county road along the Rio Grande late Thursday morning when they heard around eight rounds fired from across the river.

The workers quickly fled after several of the rounds hit the ground near them, kicking up dirt.

No workers were injured. Authorities found no suspects in the area, situated about 15 miles south of Interstate 10 between Fort Hancock and Sierra Blanca.

 The border may be “more secure than ever,”  as Ms. Napolitano likes to say, but the question remains’ “Is it enough?”  No, it isn’t. It was only a few weeks ago that a border patrol agent was murdered while on duty in the desert. He reportedly exchanged gunfire with “five border bandits.” Subsequently,  a number illegal immigrants have been taken and held in custody in relation to the shooting, but none of them have been charged. In fact, four of them have now been indicted only  on felony immigration charges.  The FBI, the organization handling the investigation, is mum on the rest of those detained so far.

So we are back to where we started with securing the border and all we can do is wait. Wait for answers in agent Terry’s murdered investigation, wait for Secretary Napolitano to reveal their new plans for the border, and wait to see if something actually gets done for a change.