25 September 2008 ~ 0 Comments

More Border Woes – DHS runs out of $$; Head replaced

Trouble seems to follow the border fence everywhere–they may be hedged together. After waiving environmental protections, trying to build the wall through a school campus, and causing flooding trouble, we hear from the DHS that the proposed border wall is over-budget and that the official in charge of the multibillion-dollar program, Greg Giddens, has been removed.

Sep. 22–The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has run out of money to build remaining segments of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in the Rio Grande Valley and elsewhere, and the project already is $400 million over budget.

Unexpected construction costs and legal holdups have paralyzed construction just weeks after DHS broke ground in the Valley.

A Sept. 10 Government Accountability Office report said the average cost of fencing has increased more than 40 percent this year.

Seems like it is bailout season all-round. Just say no! Congress is now bailing out DHS as well from going overbudget. How much? Not some thousands, not some millions, no, just about $4 billion. NB: How many children can that kind of money feed?

I cannot fathom how the most powerful country in the world goes over-budget and spends more than it has allocated for projects like building a border wall. Costs of materials increased? Please, when you are asking Congress for funding, don’t you account for inflation and annual cost increases? Or does the DHS have poor economists on staff, (much like poor IJs)?

Maybe they had hoped to get some ‘illegals’ to build the border wall and cut costs in that manner. At any time, the government is the largest employer of undocumented immigrants alas, the increased scrutiny probably dampened those plans.

Regardless, this is what the GAO said:

According to program officials, as of August 2008, fencing costs averaged $7.5 million per mile for pedestrian fencing and $2.8 million per mile for vehicle fencing, up from estimates in February 2008 of $4 million and $2 million per mile, respectively. Furthermore, the life-cycle cost is not yet known, in part because of increasing construction costs and because the program office has yet to determine maintenance costs and locations for fencing projects beyond December 2008. In addition, land acquisition issues present a challenge to completing fence construction.

Wait, you are telling me THESE fences are worth millions of dollars and supposed to ‘keep out’ illegal immigrants? I used to climb higher walls at age 7 !!

Oh wait, these are supposed to have those virtual fence technologies. Smart borders. You know, the ones
that warn people about coming closer.

Repeating an old joke. Booming Voice:

“You are 300 yards near the border of the United States. Refrain from crossing over illegally. Please take this as a warning and retreat or be shot down. Para espanol …” (someone finish the Spanish for me…)

But I digress.

The GAO report also states that in many places like El Paso for instance, the latest technology they were hoping to use will not be available till 2011. So we are paying more for outdated technology? That makes little sense. Are we going to strip down the out-dated technology for new ones after 2011?

“Important aspects of SBInet remain ambiguous and in a continued state of flux, making it unclear and uncertain what technology capabilities will be delivered, when and where they will be delivered, and how they will be delivered,” GAO said.

“The absence of clarity and stability in these key aspects of SBInet impairs the ability of the Congress to oversee the program and hold DHS accountable for program results, and it hampers DHS’s ability to measure program progress,” GAO added.

That is probably the most usage of synonymous words I have ever seen in a single sentence.

Now, Giddens is the fall-guy for the failure. DHS has appointed Mark Borkowski as the new executive director for the Secure Border Initiative. Can Marco deliver the technology from only-DHS-knows where to here without an estranged when and contentious how?

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