Reminder: We Already Tried a Virtual Wall. It Failed.

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Word began to trickle out yesterday that President Donald Trump was backing down on his demand that any spending bill to keep the government open for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017 must include funding for a southwest border wall. However, Trump made it clear that he is not giving up on his plan to get Congress to fund the wall, only that he is willing to push off funding until the FY 2018 budget.

Despite Trump’s assurances that the wall is still a priority, Democrats and Republicans in Congress seized on the uncertainty to resuscitate an idea synonymous with non-enforcement and failure—a so-called “virtual wall.”

While it remains every pro-amnesty lawmaker’s favorite “enforcement first” mechanism, we already tried a “virtual wall” and it didn’t work. Consider the following from 2010:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has put the brakes on SBInet, the $3 billion plan to build a virtual fence along the U.S. border with Mexico.

“Not only do we have an obligation to secure our borders, we have a responsibility to do so in the most cost-effective way possible,” Napolitano said in a statement Tuesday. “The system of sensors and cameras along the Southwest border known as SBInet has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines.”

With that in mind, Napolitano is withholding funding for the program’s first deployment until a review she ordered in January is finished. And she’s taking away $50 million in stimulus funds from the Boeing-managed program. Instead, that funding will be put toward “other tested, commercially available security technology along the Southwest border.”

Even though the “virtual wall” became a government boondoggle that did nothing to increase border security, there is still a place for technology on the border. Systems such as sensors, drones, and blimps can be extremely effective when deployed as part of a comprehensive border security strategy. However, technology works best when augmenting a physical barrier—such as the one promised by Trump.

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About Author

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RJ Hauman joined FAIR in 2015, bringing valuable legislative, regulatory, and political experience to the organization. In his role, he oversees the Government Relations department and leads FAIR’s advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration. RJ also serves as a FAIR media spokesperson on a variety of immigration issues and pending legislation. During his time on Capitol Hill, RJ gained immigration policy experience as an aide to former Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), who chaired the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. RJ holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clemson University.

20 Comments

  1. avatar

    Never any mention of can we afford ObamaCare but suddenly, big deal over whether we can afford a wall or barrier on the southern border. We have a $20T deficit and now the Congress is worrying about what we can afford. I’m not buying into this argument as it is just a stall tactic.

    • avatar

      Your right ,And a dam fence that anyone can cross over and under is not a wall ,It was a waste of time and money just just place a stupid fence and not a wall.

  2. avatar
    james vallely on

    ********** cheap quick effective start tomorrow worked in No Korea for fifty years

  3. avatar

    The democrats and other libtards are going to fight Trump every inch of the way on everything he tries to do, but the wall is going to be built. Everyone knows all the lame excuses that have been used. We know there will be lawsuits, demonstrations, but Trump will hold to his promise.

    • avatar
      diane anglin on

      If you keep assuming that Democrats don’t want to end illegal immigration and want to call us all names you are going to loose support. 70% of Americans are sick of uncontrolled immigration…Legal or green card. So you are alienating about twenty percent of your support.

  4. avatar
    Preston howle on

    Yes, we need a wall, but we also need to stop ALL taxpayer-funded benefits (medical, education, food stamps, housing, etc.) to those who are here illegally! This includes birthright citizenship!!! This alone would stop the great majority of illegal immigration. Put your support behind these actions to get something done.

    • avatar

      EXACTLY! birthright citizenship must be stopped, and MANDATORY E-VERIFY is much more important than a wall. e-verify is already in place, just make it mandatory for all employers.

    • avatar

      Illegals do not get food stamps and medical …except emergency room …and housing. And the wall is a waste of money. Money that could be used to help our own vets disabled and seniors. What is needed is better border patrol. We need many more agents and possibly the military …You can get over or under a wall. Electronic survelience may help also but without agents on duty illegals would most likely just take it out and make it useless.

  5. avatar

    No virtual fence around the White House or Congress, which is insuring their safety. Instead of that, we have what works and what always will: physical fences and barriers. They do what they are designed to do, slow people down until law enforcement can get there. Some things just are what they are. You can’t reinvent the wheel.

    I saw Nancy Pelosi over the weekend saying that fences “don’t belong here or anywhere”. Tell that to Israel. A few years ago when suicide bombers were blowing up buses and cafes weekly they walled off those areas from Palestinian neighborhoods. End of problem. The thing that is “tested” are walls and fences. They work. The one along the California border has been working since it was installed during the Clinton administration. That’s why border crossers started making the much longer and more dangerous journey through Arizona.

    • avatar

      Leland Israel is taking land that does not belong to them of course they need a wall..they r pissing a lot of people off….and FYI Netayamu is a liar……not my words but words of an educated PhD Isreali I know ….there you have it EDUCATE YOURSELF

      • avatar

        Everything that happens in the 40 some Muslim countries across the globe is somehow Israel’s fault. All their violence, their repression of women and religious minorities, their failure to build modern societies based on enlightened thought, it’s all Israel. Muslim countries two thousand miles away are engulfed in war and chaos for decades and it’s always “yeah but Israel”. Laughable.

        • avatar

          Yeah you know more than the people from there what an arrogant n ignorant statement … U must know half the country dies not want war n him as their leader. . . Coming from a well educated scholar Israeli living in the US but u might be right ….Read the USS Liberty when they tried to sink our ship once we won the Ear for them…… EDUCATE yourself….

          • avatar

            I do believe he is the elected prime minister. So apparently Israeli voters prefer him over your friend. But then your friend is probably imaginary,

      • avatar
        Glenn Shannon on

        No matter what Israel does it wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the Muslims and they have said until all the Jews are gone is the only thing that will satisfy them.

      • avatar

        Letter you are an idiot, Israel existed hundreds of years before the raghead muzzies claimed Israel belonged to them. If you are well enough educated to read it is written right there in the Bible. Stop being a complete idiot and smearing your left wing garbage like you smear your feces all over these boards. RETARD.