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Border Patrol's virtual fence canceled for not being as good as a fence

Nilay Patel
04.24.08
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The last we heard of DHS's "Project 28" plan to build a 28-mile stretch of virtual fencing along the US / Mexico border in Arizona, it had been postponed until at least 2011 because the towers didn't quite work. Well, it appears that on further review, the system is even more of a total failure, and it's being scrapped entirely: according to Kelly Good, deputy director of the administration's Secure Border Initiative program, Project 28 "hasn't come close" to meeting Border Patrol's goals. Tests of the virtual fence didn't lead to nearly as many arrests as designers had hoped, and the lag from sensor detection to transmission of an image to border agents was apparently a big part of the problem. Boeing, which won the $860M contract to build the system, is now being told to replace it all with upgraded towers, but there's no word on when that's happening or what it'll cost taxpayers on top of the $20M already paid out. We're expecting trillion-dollar chain-link bids to come rolling in any day now.

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