2006 September 24 Sunday
Boeing Wins Border Virtual Fence Contract

Boeing has won an over $2 billon dollar contract to build towers along both the southern and northern US borders to detect illegal crossers.

Aerospace and defense giant Boeing Co. has won a multibillion-dollar contract to revamp how the United States guards about 6,000 miles of border in an attempt to curb illegal immigration, congressional sources said yesterday.

Boeing's proposal relied heavily on a network of 1,800 towers, most of which would need to be erected along the borders with Mexico and Canada. Each tower would be equipped with a variety of sensors, including cameras and heat and motion detectors.

...

The contract, part of the Secure Border Initiative and known as SBInet, will again test the ability of technology to solve a problem that lawmakers have called a critical national security concern.

This will help. But we still need a barrier layer built along the entire length of the US border with Mexico.

But interior enforcement to capture and deport the visa overstayers and existing illegal entrants is crucial.

They also must acknowledge that as much as half of the illegal-immigration problem is driven by the hiring of people who enter the United States through official border points but use fraudulent documents or overstay visas to become part of the estimated population of 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, former immigration officials and members of Congress said.

We need real immigration law enforcement at the borders, in the interior, at workplaces, and at legal points of entry.

The track record of existing border sensor systems is abysmal.

The Department of Homeland Security and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service spent $429 million since 1998 on video and remote surveillance on the borders. But nearly half of 489 planned cameras were never installed, 60 percent of sensor alerts are never investigated, 90 percent of the rest are false alarms, and only 1 percent overall resulted in arrests, the Homeland Security inspector general reported in December.

This is why we should build a wall with barbed wire and supporting fences and ditches along the entire border. Rather than try to detect illegal crossers make it so hard to cross they do not try to do so in the first place. Also, for those who do try make the barrier zone so formidable that they trigger multiple sensors and have to spend a lot of time crossing. That'll give Border Patrol agents time to get to a crossing point before the crossers succeed.

More advanced sensor systems could greatly reduce the number of false alarms. The use of video cameras tied to image processing software strikes me as the best longer term sensor solution. Image processor tentative matches on humans could get routed to human operators to view the images to check whether real human crossers were detected.

The House of Representatives has passed a bill to build a barrier along over a third of the US border with Mexico. The Senate might be close to passing a similar bill and President Bush will sign it if it passes.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 September 24 05:19 PM  Immigration Border Barrier


Comments
John S Bolton said at September 25, 2006 12:21 AM:

Close to the elections, the republicans are starting to do the things they need to do to save themselves.
Even the administration, seems to have caught on somewhat, that 17 or 18% of the disadvantaged minority vote, leaves very little to lose, especially considering the high voting error rates in low-literate groups.
Avoiding another horrific national waste of time and effort like the watergate hearings, might bring them to their senses on the issues where the democrats cannot follow in defiance of 'opinion elites': affirmative action quotas, immigration restriction, and international agreements which can be plausibly be presented as damaging to American interests.


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