First, everyone agrees that more needs to be done. And second, nothing ever gets done.
LOS ANGELES — Government auditors reported Thursday that the effort to secure the Mexican border with technology and fences has fallen years behind schedule, will cost billions of dollars extra in maintenance costs and has no clear means of gauging whether illegal crossings have been curtailed.
Mark Borkowski, who directs the Secure Border Initiative for the Department of Homeland Security, stood by the program as “transformational,” but did not challenge the findings. “We are as frustrated as anybody is” with the setbacks, Mr. Borkowski said in an interview.
The report, by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s watchdog, said the department had fallen about seven years behind its goal of putting in place the technology the Bush administration had heavily promoted when it announced the Secure Border Initiative in 2005.
In 2006, the report said, the department estimated it would have a system of cameras, radars and sensors in place to aid a force of border guards by the end of 2009, but the completion date is now projected as 2016.
“Flaws found in testing and concerns about the impact of placing towers and access roads in environmentally sensitive locations caused delays,” said Richard M. Stana, an author of the report. The cameras and radars, a “virtual fence” in a system designed by the contractor, Boeing, have fallen prey to weather and mechanical problems.
The effort to build 661 miles of fences blocking vehicles or pedestrians is nearly complete, but with 28 miles left to go, it has been delayed by lawsuits from landowners in Texas.
The government has spent $2.4 billion on such “physical infrastructure,” but the report said it could cost $6.5 billion over 20 years to maintain it.
For all the money spent, the department has not set up a way to evaluate the fences’ impact, relying mainly on the judgment of senior Border Patrol agents.
Mr. Borkowski said the government auditors were overly “pessimistic,” and, while he offered no guarantees, he predicted the system would prove successful. He said the department was studying ways to judge its success beyond managers’ opinions.
The apprehension of illegal immigrants at the border has fallen to lows not seen in decades, but scholars and Mexican officials say the recession and the lack of jobs in the United States have contributed to the drop.
Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in response to the report that department officials needed to get the Secure Border Initiative “right or find an alternative technology solution.”
Most of us immigration realists - or "racist Nazis" as we are known on the left - have said from the outset that the "technological fix" for the border was, at best, a flawed concept using untested technology to give the illusion of doing something, and, at worst, a deliberate shell game intended to shut people up about this country's deeply ambivalent attitude towards illegal immigration. It's total failure comes as no surprise - it was designed to fail.
Many open-borders advocates weren't too concerned about it, and now we know why. Just like the "conditional amnesty" - where illegal aliens pay a piddling fine, promise to (someday try to attempt to) learn English (someday maybe), and pay (totally unverifiable) back taxes - the open-borders folks know that it is totally unenforceable and amounts to a free pass. That's why they don't object.
and that's why we will keep calling bullshit on them. Joe Wilson was right - it is all lies. Obama and the racial pressure groups will not give up their dream of a free ride for illegals so easily. It is ridiculous to think they've had a change of heart on the issue. One way or another this health care bill WILL cover illegal aliens. Count on it.
Obama: Legalize illegals to get them health care
"It is ironic that the president told the American people that illegal immigrants should not be covered by the health care bill, but now just days later he's talking about letting them in the back door," said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
"If the American people do not want to provide government health care for illegal immigrants, why would they support giving them citizenship, the highest honor America can bestow?" Mr. Smith said.