October 13, 2008
The border fence boondoggle blues

You ever get the feeling that the border fence just wasn't a very good idea? Yeah, me too.

The federal government has completed just a half-mile section of the 110 miles of pedestrian border fence promised along the Texas-Mexico border.

Texas' incomplete portion, about 109.5 miles, accounts for about a third of the 316 miles of pedestrian and vehicle barriers that remains to be built along the border that officials had hoped to complete by the end of President Bush's term in January.

The delays in completing the politically charged project, designed to stem illegal immigration, have been blamed on politicians' resistance, landowners' unwillingness to sell, shortages of materials, soaring costs and unforeseen construction problems.

"The Department of Homeland Security pontificates about how they're securing the border when they're not. They have no credibility on border security," said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Houston, a staunch supporter of the fence.

Just savor the idea of Ted Poe calling someone "not credible" on border security. This is like being called "not credible" on email security by Tommy Thomas.

Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, the chairman of the Texas Border Coalition, a leading opponent of the project, said the next president and Congress will weigh the fate of the fence and, he hopes, replace it with "a more responsible and effective border security strategy."

Border crossings by illegal immigrants have dropped 56 percent over the last four years without a fence, according to Foster's organization.

Anyone else think there might be a correlation to the lousy economy here? Why bother crossing the border if things aren't all that much better than they were in the home country?

I certainly hope Foster is correct that the next President and Congress will rethink the fence concept, and in doing so come to the rather obvious conclusion that it's nowhere near worth the cost, and act accordingly. That will take some leadership, and a willingness to put up with howls of outrage from the likes of Ted Poe, so I can't say I'm expecting this to happen. But I have hope.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 13, 2008 to National news
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