Arizona is attempting to take border patrol into its own hands, but they may be going about it the wrong way. Many argue that the state’s self-funded $30 million plan to install “virtual fencing” along 350 miles of Arizona’s border will not be effective.
The $30 million Arizona plan was approved by a House panel on Monday. Critics, both Republicans and Democrats alike, have cited significant concerns.
The controversial virtual fences were proposed by Sen. Bob Worsley (R-Mesa) and would mount small human-detecting sensors on 300 towers along the border.
Some argue virtual fences do not deter illegal immigrants from crossing the border as effectively as physical barriers and gun-carrying agents. As Sen. Chester Crandell (R-Heber) pointed out, these “fences” would not necessarily make Arizona’s border any safer — rather, he argued, the sensors would simply allow residents to sit at their computers and watch.
The border patrol technique flopped in Arizona when in 2006, the federal government spent $1 billion to build a virtual fence spanning 53 miles across Arizona’s border. The botched project was abandoned in 2011 because it “was plagued with delays, cost overruns, difficulty in dealing with prime contractor Boeing, and general financial mismanagement.”
Worsley’s plan, if passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, would essentially be utilizing the same tactics as the federal government did in 2006, but hope for different results.
Still, it is understandable why Arizona would want to secure its border on its own, since many in the state assert that the federal government has failed at doing so.
Like Arizonans, many in the Lone Star state believe that the federal government has failed to effectively protect citizens from dangerous criminals and illegal immigrants. Texas has effectively “shut down” its border in the past to the tune of $5 million per month.
During an interview with Breitbart News, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said illegal activity was brought to a standstill in the Rio Grande River area of the border for three weeks by utilizing “Texas law enforcement in the brush, high altitude aircraft, gun boats, and more.” He continued, “Texas can do the job the federal government has refused to do — to invest in the border and shut it down from illegal activities that are hurting Texans and other Americans.”
Texas also invested in a high-altitude spotter plane that is able to see six miles into Mexico at night.
Dewhurst argued, “We have a problem and everyone knows it except for the Obama administration and people in high levels of Border Patrol… We have just showed that we can shut down the border for ‘X’ number of dollars. We need to find the $5 million per month to make these operations continuous and replicate what we have just accomplished.”
The Lieutenant Governor continued, “Our nation deserve better than what we are getting from Washington, D.C. Until they adopt the Texas approach, we will continue to do what’s right for Texans and for our state ourselves.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.