The much-heralded and much-maligned 600-mile long border fence between the United States and Mexico, is morphing into a typical government boondoggle — way over budget, way behind schedule, and way short of its promised goals.
The border fence, designed to thwart illegal border crossings into the U.S. from our southern neighbor, was supposed to have been completed this year. However, estimates now place its completion date seven years hence — 2016, to be exact. Its construction costs have sky-rocketed, as has the amount of money needed just to maintain it, which now is estimated by the Government Accountability Office at $6.5 billion over the next two decades.
Although the fence was envisioned by its congressional and Bush Administration proponents as providing a near-impenetrable barrier to those intent on entering our country illegally from Mexico, the reality is that it is anything but. Sandstorms in the arid border area frequently render unusable the expensive infrared cameras mounted along its top. Already, about 3,000 breaches have been documented, each of which costs some $1,300 to repair. It succumbs regularly to wire cutters, ladders and vehicles bashing through it.
One might legitimately wonder where are all the immigration hawks who clamored for construction of a “border fence” during the previous administration — most of who also classified themselves as budget hawks — now that the project is turning out to be a white elephant.