Friday, October 06, 2006

The Taco Curtain

I entitled this the ‘Taco Curtain’ because of all the political hand-wringing about constructing a 700-mile border fence, a good part of it right here in the Valley. This was supposedly a major victory for the conservative party – it was interesting because nobody wanted it down here and all the supporters were inland folks who didn’t have a clue.

Well good news comes in all different shapes. First Congress authorized 700 miles of fencing and estimated its down payment at about 1.2 billion dollars. So far so bad.

But in last-minute appropriations for the Homeland Security Agency, the Taco Curtain is nowhere specifically funded as a line item (source: New York Times online, September 6, 2006). Instead, border security could take such forms as a “virtual fence” with electronics, roadways, and … no real fence to speak of. The appropriations bill allows Homeland Security to spend its budget as it sees fit and includes measures to consult with the affected states, Indian tribes, and local governments as to the best solutions.

In fact, my understanding is that various kinds of “fence” will be tested before even being designed and constructed in any meaningful way. It could take years to even get a good start. This sounds much more like the federal bureaucracy we know and love.

For those of you who think the Taco Curtain, 700 miles long and 1.2 billion dollars, will be constructed within 18 months as the authorization bill says, you have been hornswoggled, bamboozled, and sorely misled. Yay!


mleahy said...

Hey Sam hope all is well with you and the family. Please correct me if I am wrong but, does'nt the bill state that the Department of Homeland Security would take control of border security in 18 months vs. the "Fence" having to be complete in that time frame? It obviously is not feasable to design, cost, bid and construct 700 miles of fence, barriers, roads and electronic surveilance equipment in 18 months.


Sam said...

Why I don't know Mike because the appropriations act there actually funds the money, and it was vague as heck. You are welcome to dig in a thousand pages of mud. Nowhere is the border fence even mentioned by name, or even referenced to the authorization bill. Gee, your guess is as good as mine. Nothing is really done unless the government pays for it, so all that other hooey is kinda like arm waving.

I can tell you that a major such as Lockheed has recently won a billion dollar border fence electronic system, which wasn't even part of this specific appropriatons mess. I forget who actually won the bid; I was thinking Lockeed Martin Marietta. This is the future of border security, not big stupid steel fences.

Thanks about asking about the fam and I hope all is well in Santone. Come on down sometime?