Several White House agencies charged with enforcing environmental laws are preventing thousands of Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border from disrupting illicit trafficking operations, according to a study by the investigative arm of Congress.
The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that about 15 percent of the 26 Border Patrol stations in the southwestern region say the Interior Department and the Agriculture Department have prevented them from catching illegal aliens coming over the border.
Nearly half of the thousands of miles of the U.S.’s border with Mexico – which saw about 556,000 people cross over it illegally last year – is federally maintained by the Interior Department and the Forest Service, which are charged with upholding the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Wilderness Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Under federal law, before Border Patrol agents can build roads or establish surveillance posts on this land, they must first receive permission from the land managing agencies. This process can take months while the land management agencies conduct tests to ensure the environmental safety of the land and its species, the GAO report said, resulting in the souring of actionable intelligence with the ranks of the Border Patrol.
“These delays in gaining access have generally lessened agents’ ability to detect undocumented aliens in some areas, according to the patrol agents-in-charge,” the report states. [...]
The Department of Homeland Security, positioning itself to cut its losses on a so-called invisible fence along the U.S.- Mexico border, has decided not to exercise a one-year option for Boeing to continue work on the troubled multibillion-dollar project involving high-tech cameras, radar and vibration sensors.
The result, after an investment of more than $1 billion, may be a system with only 53 miles of unreliable coverage along the nearly 2,000-mile border.
The virtual fence was intended to link advanced monitoring technologies to command centers for Border Patrol to identify and thwart human trafficking and drug smuggling. But from the beginning, the program has been plagued by missed deadlines and the limitations of existing electronics in rugged, unpredictable wilderness where high winds and a tumbleweed can be enough to trigger an alarm.
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Homeland Security officials decided on Sept. 21 not to invoke the department’s option with Boeing, the principle contractor on the project, and instead extended the deal only to mid-November, Boeing officials confirmed this week. Boeing has charged the department more than $850 million since the project began in 2006.
The government has not released an independent assessment of the program completed in July, but with the two-month Boeing extension about to run out, several members of Congress expect the Homeland Security Department to rule soon on the fate of the invisible fence, the high-tech portion of the $4.4-billion Secure Border Initiative.
Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler would only say that a new way forward for the program “is expected shortly.”
But given that the virtual fence has yet to pass muster even in the 53-mile test area — two sections in Arizona that officials acknowledge won’t be fully operational until 2013 — and the government’s lack of interest in extending Boeing’s contract, most do not expect the department to invest billions more in a project that has continually disappointed. [...]
Everyone knows that the ILLEGAL INVASIONISTAS, complete with robbers, murderers and rapists are what the Democrats and the Democrats In Drag want so badly to be voters and this is why there is no fence, no patrols and who gives a damn anyway? So...
As I have stated many, many times, the DohBama disadministration is refusing to enforce immigration laws in order to carry out their backdoor shamnesty awards for the ILLEGAL INVASIONISTAS. Now they are using their incidious environmental laws to stop Border Patrol Agents from stopping ILLEGAL INVASIONISTAS from crossing the border. It's OK fine for the ILLEGAL INVASIONISTAS to break our immigration laws and the environmental laws at the same time. RIGHT? RIGHT!
The Snooper Report.
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