Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters, June 9, 2008
U.S. officials announced plans for more high-tech border fencing and rules making it harder for federal contractors to hire illegal workers, but said on Monday it would take another three years to declare victory in immigration control.
In an election-year update on immigration policies—a simmering issue in this year’s presidential campaign—the Republican Bush administration said its control efforts were making progress.
The administration instead imposed a patchwork of administrative measures and moved ahead with plans to construct 670 miles (1,070 km) of barriers along the 2,000-mile (3,200 km) border with Mexico.
Chertoff said the government had decided to award Boeing Co contracts to build two sections of a high-tech fence in Arizona.
The new sections would be an “operational configuration” of a much-criticized 28-mile (45-km) “virtual fence” built by Boeing and tested earlier, Chertoff said.
It would include fixed towers, radar and ground sensors, remote control cameras, and software linking border agents. Officials plan to deploy elements of the technology as needed elsewhere along the border.
Chertoff dismissed earlier reports of deep trouble with the test section, which had been delayed by several months due to technical problems, including communications and software glitches and fuzzy video images.
[Editor’s Note: See an earlier report on the government scrapping it’s existing virtual fence here.]