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

| Fri Nov. 17, 2006 9:00 PM EST

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.