Center for American Progress

Don’t Abandon a Technological Solution to Secure Our Borders
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Don’t Abandon a Technological Solution to Secure Our Borders

The concept of a high-technology networked border security system that can eventually be replaced by more advanced systems remains doable.

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Since work on the fence is nearly completed, it makes little sense to abandon what has already been built. More broadly, the Center for American Progress argues that the Secure Border Initiative presents extremely complex challenges, but the concept of a high-technology networked border security system using proven off-the-shelf technology that can eventually be replaced by more advanced systems remains doable. The program must be heavily augmented with dependable security technology adhering to the general concepts of SBInet because virtually no one believes the fence alone is enough, but there is general agreement that the concept is essential.

“We need good technology to help funnel people to places where our human assets will be to stop them from entering our country,” Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) said. “All of it has to work. And it has to work together—the virtual part of it has to work, because I’m not going to put a man every 200 yards on the border,” Sanchez added. “When all these other people are coming across, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. If I get rid of the haystack, it’s much easier to find the needle. Getting rid of the haystack is about comprehensive reform.”

As the Border Trade Alliance, a business group supporting international trade with Mexico, said in a March 2010 letter to DHS Secretary Napolitano urging continued work on a virtual fence: “We believe that technology holds great promise for securing our borders by acting as a force multiplier for our understaffed border agencies without having to devote hundreds of millions of dollars to physical barriers of dubious effectiveness.

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