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DHS Cancels Virtual Border Fence Project

After spending more than $1 billion, the Department of Homeland Security is ending a program to build a virtual fence along the Southwest border with Mexico. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano called the project ineffective and too costly and said that it didn't meet the department's current standards for viability.

Napolitano said the Department will instead use lesser-sophisticated equipment that is better tailored to the terrain of the Southwest border.

The virtual fence was first ordered by former Pres. George W. Bush at an estimated cost of $7 billion. But a 53-mile test fence was designed for a section of the Arizona border and cost $1 billion.

Responding to any possible criticism of the decision, DHS notes that the number of border patrol agents along the Southwest border have doubled since the time just before the virtual fence was ordered. Still, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, is critical of the Department's border strategy.

"I continue to have very serious concerns about the Obama administration’s lack of urgency to secure the border," Rep. King said.

Boeing holds the contract for the virtual fence, but the contract expires on Jan. 18.

Publications

FACT SHEET: The Border Security 'Results' Act of 2013 (H.R.1417)

Fact Sheets - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fact Sheet: LEAVE Act of 2011 (H.R.1196)

Fact Sheets - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Polls

64% Say Border Control Top Immigration Priority

Support Tougher Enforcement - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 64% of Likely U.S. Voters feel that when it comes to immigration reform, gaining control of the border is more important that legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in this country.

Rasmussen Reports

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/64_say_border_control_top_immigration_priority

63% Say Border Control Is Top Immigration Priority

Support Tougher Enforcement - Wednesday, March 16, 2011

63% of Americans feel that securing the border is more important than providing amnesty for the nation's illegal aliens.

Rasmussen Reports

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/63_say_border_control_is_top_immigration_priority

59% Say U.S. Should Continue To Build Fence on U.S.-Mexico Border

Support Tougher Enforcement - Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it is halting funding of the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, but 59% of Americans believe the United States should continue to build that fence.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 26% of adults disagree and think the building of the fence should be stopped. Fifteen percent (15%) more are not sure.

Rasmussen Reports

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/mexico/59_say_u_s_should_continue_to_build_fence_on_u_s_mexico_border

In the News

Obama Weighs Keeping National Guard on US, Mexico Border to Fight Illegal Immigration

Quoted - Monday, May 9, 2011

Still, advocates on both sides of the immigration debate agree the National Guard mission has been success and should continue at least for the short term.

"The military doesn't even have to be doing anything, just maneuvers there, and the cartels basically feel threatened and stay away," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, which favors a permanent deployment of the National Guard along the border.

By DEVIN DWYER -- ABC News

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-obama-talk-immigration-weighs-national-guard-us/story?id=13547658

Anti-Immigration Groups Give GOP Free Pass on Border Security Cuts

Quoted - Monday, April 18, 2011

According to Rosemary Jenks, director of government affairs for NumbersUSA, her group is not protesting any of the reductions in spending. Nor will any Republicans be penalized in their annual grades for voting for them.

"For an administration that's decided it's not a priority, it doesn't make sense to throw money at them," Jenks told TPM in an interview before Congress agreed to a final spending deal.

By Benjy Sarlin -- Talking Points Memo DC

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/04/anti-immigration-groups-give-gop-free-pass-on-border-security-cuts.php

Obama to send 1,200 troops to U.S.-Mexico border

Quoted - Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, a group that wants to reduce legal and illegal immigration, was pleased but called the action a minimal response and based on politics.

"I think the White House people are watching the polls and seeing how incredibly popular the Arizona law is," Beck said. The law requires police to c heck immigration status if they suspect that someone they detain is in the country illegally.

By Alan Gomez and Richard Wolf -- USA TODAY

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-05-25-obama-immigration_N.htm

Border Patrol to toughen up policy on returning illegal border-crossers

In the News - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The U.S. Border Patrol is moving to halt a revolving-door policy of sending migrants back to Mexico without any punishment.

The Border Patrol now feels it has enough of a handle to begin imposing more serious consequences on almost everyone it catches, from areas including Texas’ Rio Grande Valley to San Diego. The “Consequence Delivery System” — a key part of the Border Patrol’s new national strategy to be announced within weeks — relies largely on tools that have been rolled out over the last decade on parts of the border and expanded. It divides border crossers into seven categories, ranging from first-time offenders to people with criminal records.

By Associated Press

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ap-exclusive-border-patrol-to-toughen-up-policy-on-returning-detained-migrants/2012/01/17/gIQAK6D14P_story.html

Republicans ask for troops to remain at border

In the News - Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stepping up the immigration enforcement bidding war, House Republicans last week asked President Obama to extend the deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops on the U.S.-Mexico border past June 30, when their mission is slated to end.

Last year Congress passed a bill boosting the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents, but the 10 Republicans, all members of the Homeland Security Committee, said the new agents have not been fully hired and trained yet, so the National Guard troops should remain.

"We request the National Guard remain on the Southwest border until the Department of Homeland Security can fully take control of the mission and hire and train sufficient personnel to replace the 1,200 National Guard troops who have served honorably in this mission," they said in their letter.

By Stephen Dinan -- The Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/apr/3/gop-asks-for-troops-to-remain-at-border/

Obama pressed to extend National Guard's stay along Mexico border

In the News - Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The top-ranking House Republican on border issues is pushing the Obama administration to extend the National Guard’s presence along the U.S.-Mexico border and possibly deploy the U.S. Army to help stymie violence from the drug cartels.

Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), the chairwoman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border and maritime security, told The Hill that it would be a 'serious mistake' if the White House failed to re-authorize the deployment of National Guard troops to the border region beyond their end date on June 30.

By Jordy Yager -- The Hill

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/149801-obama-pressed-to-extend-national-guards-stay-along-mexico-border

For National Guard, a new mission along the border

In the News - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Salinas said the one-year National Guard mission is a stopgap measure to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection time to hire more agents. But worsening cartel violence in Mexico and several high-profile killings on the U.S. side have raised calls for more National Guardsmen along the border, even though illegal immigration and crime in the region have declined.

Border-state legislators from both parties - particularly after the Dec. 14 killing of a Border Patrol agent just north of Nogales - say they view the U.S. military presence as a long-term necessity, despite rules that mostly limit the Guardsmen to watching the fence line and prevent them from making arrests or seizing drugs.

By Nick Miroff -- Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/04/AR2011010405296.html

Texas officials estimate at least $250 million spent on illegal immigrants annually

In the News - Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Texas taxpayers spent at least $250 million last year in state prison and health care costs for illegal immigrants, but figuring out the precise cost will be difficult, state officials testified on Wednesday.

The House State Affairs Committee solicited information about services and benefits provided to noncitizens – a preliminary review in preparation for a legislative session certain to see a push for tougher immigration laws similar to those enacted in Arizona.

By CHRISTY HOPPE -- The Dallas Morning New

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/081910dnteximmigcosts.2a35827.html

Terrorist Smuggling Into U.S. a Real Concern

In the News - Friday, July 30, 2010

Richard Stana, the Government Accounting Office’s (GAO) Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, testified before a congressional subcommittee on July 22 that “alien smuggling along the southwest border is an increasing threat to the security of the United States and Mexico as well as to the safety of both law enforcement and smuggled aliens.”

By Joe Wolverton -- The New American

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/usnews/crime/4180-terrorist-smugglin

Border patrol has bear of time stopping terrorists from north

In the News - Sunday, June 6, 2010

As if fighting terrorism weren't complicated enough, the United States has a new national security threat to worry about: grizzly bears.

Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee say that environmental laws protecting grizzlies and other wild animals along rural portions of the U.S.-Canada border have handcuffed U.S. Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security agents, potentially making it easier for would-be terrorists to slip into the country.

By Sean Lengell -- Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jun/6/border-patrol-has-bear-of-time-stopping-terrorists/

Mexico cartels empty border towns

In the News - Friday, April 16, 2010

The 14-year-old boy tied a few mattresses and a bedstead to the family truck. He went back into his single-story yellow house for the cat, and chained up the gate. Then he drove off with his family, which was abandoning home, jobs, school and country.

All because the drug smugglers told them to.

Hundreds of families are fleeing the cotton-farming towns of the Juarez Valley, a stretch of border 50 miles east of Ciudad Juarez. In a new strategy, Mexican drug cartels seeking to minimize interference with their operations are using terror to empty the entire area.

The Associated Press -- MSNBC.com

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36605713/ns/world_news-americas/

Krentz family releases statement on ranchers death

In the News - Friday, April 2, 2010

The Krentz family released the following statement regarding the recent shooting death of Robert Krentz on his Southern Arizona ranch.

On March 27th, our Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother and Uncle was murdered in cold blood by a suspected illegal alien on the Ranch.

KVOA.com

http://www.kvoa.com/news/hold-for-now-krentz-family-releases-statement/

Border violence threatens Americans

In the News - Thursday, April 1, 2010

The killings last month in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez of two U.S. citizens, including an employee at the city's U.S. Consulate, along with the slaying of an Arizona rancher, have fueled concerns among U.S. officials that Americans are becoming fair game for Mexican drug gangs seeking control of smuggling routes into the United States.

By Ben Conery and Jerry Seper -- Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/apr/01/violent-mexican-drug-gangs-pose-rising-risk-to-ame/