$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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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