$2 B for a 700-Mile Fence or $30 B for a Faulty Virtual One?

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It was $2 billion in appropriations for 700 miles of fencing that Republican Senators Jon Kyl and Jeff Sessions slipped into a Pentagon spending bill in August just before the Senate recessed. Mother Jones reported on the myriad opposition to this original bill in September. Now the program for a virtual fence, which is what the Department of Homeland Security has deemed their preferred plan, is being piloted along a 28-mile area in the Tucson Sector, where immigration is most dense. (Charles Bowden reported extensively on this desert area of Arizona in the September/October issue of Mother Jones.)
But the Inspector General’s office may have thrown a kink in the DHS’ plan. Last Wednesday, the DHS watchdog forecasted that it could cost as much as $30 billion to create the desired virtual fence. And with a Democrat-controlled Congress, the warnings could very wll be heeded. To further add insult to injury, the Inspector General’s office released this report in December of 2005, which shows that virtual technology along the border doesn’t work anyway.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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