Feb 11 2009
Fencing Between U.S. and Mexico Near Complete, Faces Issues
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has nearly completed fencing along the United States’ southwest border, a key component of the Secure Border Initiative, and the federal organization is now moving forward with the technological aspects of the initiative, says representatives of DHS. The final 66 miles of the fence will be completed in the next few months, says DHS, leading to a total of 670 miles of fencing between the U.S. and Mexico. The next step in the process is to begin utilizing sensors, cameras and control towers along the border to monitor activity.
The technology component of the Secure Border Initiative will include towers that have radar stations, day and night cameras and data feeds from sensors in the ground that will enable DHS to monitor movements and actions near the fence between the two nations. These towers will be powered by solar energy and electricity when possible. While there are some issues with these new towers, DHS says, the issues are minor and the federal organization sees them as manageable.
This spring DHS border patrol agents will test two towers in the Tucson, AZ are. Deployment will continue after the successful testing of these two stations with a complete installation aimed for 2011 or 2012.
The Secure Border Initiative is not without its opponents, however, and some of those are within the U.S. government. The Government Accountability Office has voiced its concerns that the program is over budget and is facing massive scheduling delays. GAO has presented a letter to the U.S. Congress detailing these problems and its suggestion for ways to better use funds allotted for this program. In addition, the Secure Border Initiative may face opposition from the new secretary of DHS, Janet Napolitano. When governor of Arizona, Napolitano was not a supporter of the border fence initiative and may now use her newest station to hinder the progress of the controversial initiative.