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Saturday, March 20, 2010

"A High-Tech, Low-Result Border Fence"

Illegal immigration has fallen due to the crisis. In the past, I've argued that the "silly" border fence will probably get the credit. Looks like was wrong about that. But I was right in arguing that the fence wouldn't work:

A high-tech, low-result border fence, LA Times: It turns out the smart fence was kind of a dumb idea after all.

The virtual border wall, a network of sensors, cameras and radar meant to help the Border Patrol nab illegal crossers, has never worked as planned, and according to the Government Accountability Office, even the tests designed to evaluate it are badly flawed. ...

Rarely has a president been as optimistic about the power of technology as was George W. Bush... Bush believed that technology ... could be used to secure the border. Hoping to placate Congress, which scoffed at his proposals on comprehensive immigration reform and seemed solely interested in halting the flow of immigrants, Bush called for a virtual fence that by 2011 was supposed to cover nearly the entire 2,000-mile southern border. Roughly $1 billion later, we have two testing sites in the Arizona desert, where drifting sagebrush and wildlife often set off the sensors. The system is so slow that on the rare occasions it does sense a human border crosser, by the time cameras can focus on the area, the lawbreaker is gone.

It would be great if there were a technological solution to illegal immigration. But it would be extraordinarily hard, not to mention expensive, to develop an effective technology that couldn't be speedily defeated by clever human smugglers. And even in the unlikely event that a foolproof fence could be built, it wouldn't address the huge number of immigrants who cross the border legally but then overstay their visas. ...

Obama ... should scrap the border fence too, and focus on real-world policies that would not only secure the borders but deal humanely with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the country.

    Posted by on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 01:08 AM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (30)


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