Government Executive reports that the virtual fence along the border is still not on pace. And apparently the Department of Homeland Security is considering giving up and trying again:
Homeland Security hired defense contracting giant Boeing Integrated Defense Systems to develop the so-called SBInet program, which is supposed to use technology, personnel and infrastructure to control the borders. Under the first phase of the contract, Boeing was supposed to develop an integrated system for 28 miles of border in Arizona by June.The immigration debate in Congress seems essentially to be over -- at least for a few years. Therefore the glitches in this system may not be very significant, politically, and may have a few years to work themselves out. Nevertheless, if DHS is forced to start from scratch, that's a major black eye for an administration that staked so much on the benefits of a virtual fence over a 'real fence.' It's also another argument to support the criticisms of those who insist on proof that border enforcement is working before considering measures to deal with the illegal population.
But the department has refused to accept Boeing's solution because of ongoing technical glitches.
"I am not going to buy something with U.S. government money unless I'm satisfied it works in the real world," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday. "And if it can't be made to work, I'm prepared to go and find something that will be made to work, although I'll obviously be disappointed."