Wednesday, August 06, 2008

HERE'S the Fence!

It may not be a double fence along the Mexican border but it's a heck of a lot better than nothing!

Remember that clever little ad "Where's the Fence" last year which was a takeoff on the famous Wendy's "Where's the Beef" ad? Well, HERE is the fence.

It may not be the 854 miles of double row of fencing along the border with Mexico required by the Secure Fence Act that President Bush signed into law in October 2006 (House Democrats and Senator Hutchison of Texas nixed that idea in December 2007) but it's a lot better than nothing and long overdue; especially considering how violent the drug wars in Mexico are becoming.


US Border Patrol Agent Martin Hernandez stands at the five meter (18 foot) tall border security fence July 11, 2008 at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in New Mexico. Just west of El Paso, near where Spanish conquistator Juan de Onate crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico in 1598, contsruction crews have completed a steel fence authorities say is a new model for border security.

The Department of Homeland Security has already built 182.2 miles of pedestrian fence and 151 miles of vehicle fence which is half way towards the goal they expect to reach by the end of the year of 670 miles of combined fencing. In April, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff used extraordinary powers granted him by Congress to expedite the fence in the face of the usual environmentalist obstruction tactics and other law suits.

Even with over one million illegals self deporting back to Mexico the border remains a flashpoint for illegal activity:

Statement of Ronald D. Vitiello Chief Patrol Agent
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Department of Homeland Security
Before the House Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands
Subcommittee on Fish, Wildlife and Oceans
in Brownsville, Texas
April 28, 2008

During Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 alone, Border Patrol agents apprehended 876,704 persons (858,638 on the southwest border) attempting to enter the United States illegally, including human smugglers, drug traffickers, and illegal aliens, and seized 1,859,299 pounds of marijuana and 14,242 pounds of cocaine. As of April 20, 2008, in FY2008, the Border Patrol has arrested 422,433 illegal aliens (411,329 on the southwest border) and seized 952,847 pounds of marijuana and 6,625 pounds of cocaine. In my area of responsibility, the Rio Grande Valley Sector, in FY2008 alone we have apprehended 42,004 illegal aliens and seized 189,377 pounds of marijuana and 3,461 pounds of cocaine.
Existing border fence has been very effective in curtailing illegal crossings by forcing would be criminals out into open desert and away from civilian populations where they would represent a threat to citizens and more easily escape detection.

Groups like Grassfire continue to demand the double fence be built and more of it along the nearly 2,000 mile border with Mexico. But at least we're kinda sorta half way towards half way there.

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