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Bug Government Security United States Politics

The Death of the US-Mexico Virtual Fence 467

Posted by Soulskill
from the virtual-fences-make-virtual-neighbors dept.
eldavojohn writes "A couple of years ago it was announced that the Boeing-built virtual fence at the US-Mexico border didn't work. Started in 2006, SBInet has been labeled a miserable failure and finally halted. A soon-to-be-released GAO report is expected to be overwhelmingly critical of SBInet, causing DHS Chief Janet Napolitano to announce yesterday that funding for the project has been frozen. It's sad that $1.4 billion had to be spent on the project before the discovery that this poorly conceived idea would not work."
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The Death of the US-Mexico Virtual Fence

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  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @12:45PM (#31510388) Homepage Journal
    Name one other country that allows anyone to cross into its borders regardless of the reason. Not only that, but allows those illegal immigrants to demand that their language be accepted and spoken by government service workers, and even goes so far as to essentially take over a government office for a day and fly the flag of the migrants country on that office's flag pole. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @12:49PM (#31510484)

    the economy isn't doing well. It's an easy distraction for the government to use so the people don't realize how much of a role the government is playing in screwing up the economy in the first place. Honestly, most of those illegal Mexicans are harder working than many Americans at the poverty level. I still don't see Americans out of work lining up to pick grapes, or mow lawns for the minimum wage, do you?

    No one talked about illegal immigration in the 90s when things were great. A healthy economy makes illegal immigration a non-issue.

  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @12:51PM (#31510526)

    I've heard this come up and the speaker never really supports it but just assumes everyone's on board. I've been to parts of the country without a substantial immigrant population, and believe it or not those crops get picked, those houses get cleaned, and those burgers get flipped. Americans will do those jobs, though usually for a bit more money (which is to be expected when you have to pay those pesky income and social security taxes.)

    ... You sure those crops aren't being picked by migrants that show up during harvest season and vanish soon after?

  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @12:57PM (#31510660)

    Along those lines...

    Hair based drug testing relies on melanin - most drugs they test for bind to the melanin in the hair.
    So detecting drugs in people with black hair is 50x easier than it is for people with blond hair.

    So you get a situation where the entire process is racist, but most of the people have no idea just how biased it is and just accept on blind faith that the people in charge are doing the right thing.

  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alexborges (313924) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:02PM (#31510776)

    It wouldve been better spent in tv ads adressing the dangers drug consumption abuse, while at the same time you legalize drugs.

    And then both mexico and the us would be happier, richer countries, with money spent where it should, instead of in a drug "war" nobody can win.

  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:04PM (#31510826) Homepage Journal

    The problem is that the USA government has not managed to establish a proper program to fill up the demand of international labour in the country.
    At 10% unemployment, I'd say the USA government has not managed to establish a proper program to use up the supply of domestic labor either.

  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:11PM (#31510960)

    The point is that white people get to take drugs and get away with it while the browner people do not.
    Selective enforcement based on hair color is racism.
    But thanks for demonstrating just how deeply some people have abrogated their critical thinking skills to the war on drugs.

  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by calibre-not-output (1736770) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:29PM (#31511392) Homepage
    The fallacy in your comparison is that illegal immigration isn't harmful per si - the only "harm" it causes is violation of law. Murder destroys life, regardless of whether it's considered a crime or not.

    Of course there are fiscal issues when people hire workers that officially don't exist, but I'm willing to bet that if the immigration process weren't so long and cumbersome the huge majority of illegals would be running to the immigration offices. It's obviously better for the individual to be legal than an alien, and if they still can't do it, then it's somebody else's fault.

    The Mexican government can be argued to be at fault for not providing proper employment within the homeland, but defending that point is very naïve. The USA doesn't have a 0% unemployment rate either.
  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:51PM (#31511880)

    But why should I have to pay taxes that benefit your friend or compete with him for a job?

    I have a friend who came over from Taiwan with his parents when he was 3. He grew up here and got an engineering degree here but he doesn't have the right to work here. He's thinking of going back to Taiwan, a place he hasn't been since he was 3 years old, because he can't find decent work. Now that's f'ed up. Granted, it's unfair our tax dollars subsidized his education, but come on, he was 3. Can't we get a statute of limitations on these things.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:54PM (#31511946)

    The only way that this will end is when the standard of living is equal between the two countries. Since raising the standard in Mexico is impossible because of the culture and financial system, it means that the US has to have the same standard of living as Mexico does today.

    Actually its worse, since you're assuming Mexicos economy won't collapse faster than ours.

    Two huge sources of income to Mexico are currently collapsing (not collapsing in the future, I'm talking about right now)

    1) About half their govt budget came from selling oil... Their wells are now in permanent, fast decline. Once its all pumped out, its gone. That doesn't mean there is no production, just like the US has been in permanent oil production decline for 40 years but still produces a little oil. Higher tech means the extraction rate is higher so the decline is faster. And producers become importers at a much faster rate than total gross production decreases. Mexico is going to stop exporting oil pretty soon. Most of which, went to the USA. Ooops. So we're out of oil and they're out of cash. This won't turn out well.

    2) A substantial fraction of their GNP (like a third to a fifth, depending on whom you believe) was Mexicans in the US sending money back home, via WU or cash or whatever. Probably via drug trafficking too. As the US slides into great depression 2, that money flow to Mexico dries up.

    You may think that we're chasing down to them at the bottom. But they are falling faster than we are, if anything. Where we'll meet up, as you claim, is likely to be way the heck down there...

  • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:05PM (#31512156)

    I find it funny that the argument seems to be that we either help them not come here, or we make it easy for them to work in the US.

    That seems to be the two sides of the debate. I gotta say, someone has done an awesome job changing the debate..

    No where have I heard anyone say "Lets fine/arrest/throw in jail the people that Knowingly hire people that they are not allowed to."

    I have yet to see a farmer get fined/jail, whatever, for firing his workers, and then hiring undocumented workers.
    I have yet to see an executive at a manufacturing company get fined/jailed, etc, for encouraging HR to not bother with all that silly paperwork during hiring....

    No, I'm not saying we should blame the employers when they have faked credentials, but I have lived in areas where they went out of their way to hire people that would work hard, and not complain about things like labor laws, and not having to pay unemployment insurance, social security, etc for them.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:24PM (#31512584) Homepage

    After reading through 100 comments on the politics of Mexican immigrant workers, I realized I'm reading a technology blog, and all I wanted to know was why the fence didn't work. The article doesn't really say. It says the "fence" is composed of towers with monitoring equipment. But it doesn't really say what that equipment was supposed to do, or what it failed to do.

    "Ninety to 100 percent of all illegal crossers, this camera system was going to identify and characterize this threat,"

    What does that mean? Was it supposed to magically know who was crossing illegally and who wasn't? Or identify Mexicans -vs- Americans? That's silly. Was it just supposed to detect people, or movement? Did it fail at doing that?

    "It's not a matter of, you know, do you look at the screen and see things?" Stana said. "Yes, you're going to see some things. The question is: Are you going to see things over time? Is it a quality image and is it a reliable image?"

    This is still very vague. It is supposed to "see things over time" - what things? Over what time? Was it supposed to identify behaviors somehow?

    This whole thing is really vague.

  • Re:$1.4 Billion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by int69h (60728) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @04:59PM (#31515172)

    Have you ever considered that the US has enough domestic workers to fill its requirements for manual labor? I say this as someone that is directly affected by illegal immigration. I do residential carpentry, and I've watched my employer file bankruptcy because we simply can not compete with illegal labor. It's not like we're demanding a fortune (My best year I netted slightly above the poverty line), but we're not willing to put in 84 hour weeks and do work that is in violation of the building code. Even if we were willing to put in 84 hour weeks, we wouldn't be able to compete on cost when we're paying out 44 hours/week of overtime. If the process were less "long and cumbersome", and these illegals did flock to the immigration office and were turned away because we already have a large pool of domestic labor, do you really think that they'd be returning to their countries of origin? If so, I have some property to sell you.

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.