February 29, 2008

"Virtual" Fence Follies
— Ace

I think this is pretty obvious, but still worth noting for the record:

In other words, we've all just been taken for a ride .... In order to do whatever possible to avoid building an actual physical fence ... Bush, McCain and their amnesty cronies made sure a monumental amount of money was wasted on a fake, untested, unreal fence to placate conservatives ... .

And now, after the tens of millions of dollars spent on an unworkable, failed system, and a year of the Feds touting the genius of the 'virtual' fence, Amnesty Secretary Michael Chertoff now says the border will not be prot[e]cted by a physical fence or even a virtual fence ...

It's not all bad though -- we'll "double" the fleet of unmanned drones watching the thousand mile border from three all the way up to six!

Of course, we were previously promised four of these drones to cover every inch of territory between the Gulf of Mexico and California, but hey, six is better than four, right?

Posted by: Ace at 07:01 AM | Comments (17)
Post contains 178 words, total size 1 kb.

1 Can't we just hire a bunch of East Germans?  They seemed to have this fence thing down to a science.

Posted by: JackStraw at February 29, 2008 07:07 AM (t+mja)

2 sigh the unmanned drones and the virtual fence can take pretty pictures of all the illegals crossing the border. so they can be counted? like an endangered species survey? Thank God for federalism....individual states are picking up where the federal government has failed on illegal immigration and the state measures are succeeding. McCain sucks on immigration, but he isn't an enemy of federalism like Obama.

Posted by: funky chicken at February 29, 2008 07:15 AM (I+jPP)

I hope Presidente  Bush receives no honors this last year of office and when he is out from conservatives. But, what am I saying -- Mexico will throw him mucho feistas.

Posted by: Rinnie at February 29, 2008 07:15 AM (Qkhoc)


If anyone has ever watched those History channel and Discovery Channel shows on Area 51, they know that when you step across a certain point, the Air force security folks appear in a matter of minutes.  This despite the fact the area is hundreds of thousands of acres in size.  So the technology exists, the will just isn't there.

Posted by: Oclarki at February 29, 2008 07:16 AM (otsZj)

5 We'll "double" the fleet of unmanned drones watching the thousand mile border from three all the way up to six!

Of which two, at the most, will be on station at any given time while the others are rotated out for maintenance.

If McCain is elected, perhaps they can call it the "Juan Hernandez Virtual Fence." It can be erected on our Virtual Border.

Posted by: V the K (wrote his Master's thesis on unmanned aerial vehicles) at February 29, 2008 07:32 AM (PLvLS)


If anyone has ever watched those History channel and Discovery Channel shows on Area 51, they know that when you step across a certain point, the Air force security folks appear in a matter of minutes.

Well, yeah, but they're using extraterrestrial technologies that we simply can't risk falling into the hands of drug runners and human smuggling operations.

I'm all for Kinky Friedman's "Five Mexican Generals" plan:

As he lays it out, the border with Mexico would be divided into five pieces with a Mexican general responsible for each. A $1 million trust fund would be created for each general.

“When I talk about the five Mexican generals, people think I’m joking but I’m dead serious,” said Friedman. “I will divide the border into five jurisdictions, assigning one Mexican general to each and providing a trust fund for that general. Every time a person crosses illegally, we subtract $5,000 from the trust fund.”

Posted by: Rocketeer at February 29, 2008 07:35 AM (fN7ju)

7 Ugh.  Sorry for the large type.

Posted by: Rocketeer at February 29, 2008 07:36 AM (fN7ju)

8 This is why you can't trust McCain's promise to "secure the border."  His idea of securing the border might consist of upping the number of unmanned drones from six to eight.  With the border "secured," he can then proceed with amnesty and a bypass-the-border-patrol program (i.e. sometimes called a "guest worker program.").

Posted by: Mike Z. at February 29, 2008 07:37 AM (GLMrI)

9 I've never lived through an election like this.  To vote for my own candidate I'm going to have to stop watching the news, reading the paper or surfing the internet until November.

Every poll shows that being strongly anti-illegal immigration would make you a shoo-in for president.  And our primary system gives us...  two pro-illegal immigration candidates.


Posted by: Yeah for Democracy at February 29, 2008 07:38 AM (ZABXa)

10 rocketeer LOL I'm old, but not quite ready for the Reader's Digest large type edition Dammit though it was easier to read.

Posted by: funky chicken at February 29, 2008 07:40 AM (I+jPP)

11 Yeah for Democracy......just comfort yourself with YAY for federalism. And get real friendly with your state representatives and senators. Any real action on immigration is going to have to be from the ground up. It's slow, but it is working.

Posted by: funky chicken at February 29, 2008 07:42 AM (I+jPP)

12 You know, anyone could have predicted this. My solution would be to build 15 foot high concrete barriers, which are several feet thick at their base, and extend several feet underground to screw with tunneling. I'd then deploy them in the most high traffic areas; and seed the area with sensors; like ground vibration sensors; so that I know if someone is trying to dig or ram the wall with a garbage truck in that area... For other areas like the desert, simple triple wire concertina and destruction of "aid stations" would do the job fine.

Posted by: MKSheppard at February 29, 2008 07:45 AM (XFylu)

13 This is why you can't trust McCain's promise to "secure the border."

Or any other McCain promises. :-(

Posted by: V the K (wrote his Master's thesis on unmanned aerial vehicles) at February 29, 2008 07:50 AM (PLvLS)

14 AFAIK the Israeli fence's design modification to avert vehicle ramming is to have a ditch on the "not our side" side of the fence.  I'm guessing area 51 has a combination of sensors.  Pressure plates, ground vibration sensors, and ground radar. 

Posted by: bonhomme at February 29, 2008 08:11 AM (pKBEW)

15 The word "cronies" needs to stop being used. 

Posted by: dan-o at February 29, 2008 10:28 AM (XRwMr)

16 You know, if we can put a man on the moon, we ought to be able to secure the border. Oh wait, we can't put a man on the moon anymore, either. Never mind.

Posted by: lmg at February 29, 2008 01:25 PM (slf9T)


The site linked above makes 7 claims. Here are 4 of them:

1) Border control advocates want an actual physical fence.

2) Respectable Bush comprehensivist types like Chertoff want to substitute a sophisticated hi-tech "virtual fence" for the crude actual physical fence.

3) Border control types say the "virtual fence" won't work.

4) Respectable Bush comprehensivists like Chertoff in fact cut back on actual fencing, choosing the "virtual fence."

Point (1) is uncontroversial, point (3) is taken as a religious point by many border control types, but I doubt that all border control types believe it. In any case, I have no idea how to adjudicate its truth even for the majority of border control types short of polling border control types.

But point (2) and (4) are not really true. The virtual fence was not and is not intended to replace any of the planned physical fence.

The virtual fence is intended as a complement to the physical fence and as a means of providing some coverage in areas where the terrain makes the building of a fence either too difficult or unnecessary. Section 2 of the 2006 Secure Fence Act includes language that calls for aerial drones, radar towers and so on, i.e. a virtual fence.

As of Oct 2007, there were 151 miles of so-called pedestrian fencing. This was on schedule. Construction of additional physical barriers on the border is also on schedule. (The only thing that's behind schedule is the much derided virtual barrier.) The bottom line is that Chertoff has made no effort to do anything that looks like replacing a physical barrier with a virtual barrier. The fact is that both types of barrier are mandated by the 2006 law, and Chertoff seems to be complying with that law. If anything, you could argue that he's not building the virtual barrier fast enough choosing to move quickly on the physical barrier instead.

The only way you could construe Chertoff (per 4) as "cut[ting] back on actual fencing, [and] choosing the 'virtual fence.'" would be to say that he has spent some of his budget on virtual fencing (and, therefore, could not spend it on actual fencing). But since the building of the physical barrier is on schedule, why throw more money at it, when you need to build the virtual fence as well to comply to the law?

Posted by: WisdomLover at February 29, 2008 03:21 PM (x8kBs)

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