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The Death of the US-Mexico Virtual Fence

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the virtual-fences-make-virtual-neighbors dept.

Bug 467

eldavojohn writes "A couple of years ago it was announced that the Boeing-built virtual fence at the US-Mexico border didn't work. Started in 2006, SBInet has been labeled a miserable failure and finally halted. A soon-to-be-released GAO report is expected to be overwhelmingly critical of SBInet, causing DHS Chief Janet Napolitano to announce yesterday that funding for the project has been frozen. It's sad that $1.4 billion had to be spent on the project before the discovery that this poorly conceived idea would not work."

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$1.4 Billion (-1, Troll)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510014)

Couldn't that $1.4 billion have been better spent buying Valium for the rampant xenophobes in Congress? Just trank 'em all out and stop them from worrying about a non-problem.

The Mexicans who do enter illegally aren't exactly "stealing" great jobs from American citizens. They're picking crops, cleaning houses, flipping burgers, etc. The real problem is that our legitimate businesses are legally shipping planeloads of cash overseas for crappy products and services. Do we really need a million plastic "movie tie-in" figurines to be given away with Happy Meals, or blankets with arms in them?

Re:$1.4 Billion (5, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510076)

Asking immigrants to follow the law and immigrate legally isn't being a xenophobe.

Re:$1.4 Billion (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510134)

As a legal immigrant I can tell you that the hassle to be legal is so high that sometimes I wonder if I should just stop bothering and become illegal

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510432)

No, if the hassle of being "legal" is too much for you then you should just return to your country.

And I say this as a Mexican who does not plan to go to the USA due to their current policies against immigrants.

Having said that, I believe the USA really needs to fix their immigration programs as they are broken. As I heard some American guy who used to work at IBM: Mexico does not have a problem with immigration, it is a USA problem. Mexico just "exports" very cheap labour. The problem is that the USA government has not managed to establish a proper program to fill up the demand of international labour in the country.

As our racist ex-president (Vicente Fox) put it: Mexicans do things that not even African-American (I believe he did say "Negros") want to do. So, if people in the USA do not want to work for whatever payment the market is offering, then let aliens do that work.

Re:$1.4 Billion (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510748)

Is this the same logic that says the problem of Mexican drugs being imported into the US is the US's fault? Sure, there needs to be demand, but this is a bit like saying that murderers wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for all of these *living* people around!

Honestly, I believe the problem needs to be solved on both sides of the border. Americans are willing to pay a fraction of what they would to a local, to do a menial job. Mexicans are willing to risk life and limb just to get a chance to do that job. Something is very wrong with every part of this situation.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510856)

What's really wrong with it is that there are 18 million Americans who are also willing to work for that fraction- but aren't getting the jobs because of racial discrimination.

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510826)

The problem is that the USA government has not managed to establish a proper program to fill up the demand of international labour in the country.
 
At 10% unemployment, I'd say the USA government has not managed to establish a proper program to use up the supply of domestic labor either.

Re:$1.4 Billion (5, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510242)

Asking immigrants to follow the law and immigrate legally isn't being a xenophobe.

No, but structuring the legal immigration process so that it's darned near impossible to immigrate unless you're highly-educated is.

My wife and I have been trying for years to help a friend of hers who is a Nigerian national living in Italy come over. At one point a staffer in our congressman's office got so frustrated with the law that she actually suggested that my wife's friend come on a tourist visa and then overstay! It appears that the best legal option is the immigration lottery.

Re:$1.4 Billion (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510514)

So we need to revise the legal immigration path. That's fine. But this labeling anyone who opposes open, rampant border crossing with zero control a "racist" or a "xenophobe" is unfathomable bullshit that needs to stop so the problem can actually be debated. It's an anti-intellectual tactic trotted out by the other side to clamp down on open discussion.

And, I'm sorry, but we can't take everyone who wants in. We can't afford it even in the best of times. Eventually you are taxing all income over X dollars at 100% and confiscating all corporate profits, and still don't have enough money. Then what? No other country in the history of the world has ever been expected to allow this willy nilly open border nonsense.

Re:$1.4 Billion (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510588)

And, I'm sorry, but we can't take everyone who wants in. We can't afford it even in the best of times. Eventually you are taxing all income over X dollars at 100% and confiscating all corporate profits, and still don't have enough money.

This assumes that each new person is a net cost to government coffers. If that's true, then we have bigger problems than immigration.

Re:$1.4 Billion (0, Flamebait)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510820)

No, it assumes that an increase in "government coffers" doesn't mean shit to the average person already living here who is negatively affected by an influx of worthless immigrants.

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510822)

Run the numbers... If you are lucky enough to be in the top 1% of income earners you are likely to be paying more into the system than you are getting out of it. For the rest of us, the system is so overbearing that we have no hope of paying for it. We are leaving that for our kids and grandkids (in the form of debt). It's simple, really.

Re:$1.4 Billion (3, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510940)

As I said... bigger problems than immigration. And, actually, given the Ponzi-scheme nature of what we've been doing for decades now, plus the decline in native birth rate, we may NEED massive immigration just to have a prayer of eventually every catching up.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510884)

This assumes that each new person is a net cost to government coffers. If that's true, then we have bigger problems than immigration.
 
It is true, and we do have a bigger problem than immigration: businesses that aren't willing to pay living wages to get workers.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510894)

This assumes that each new person is a net cost to government coffers.

That's what would happen with open borders. That's what happens now with just a broken border. Even with a good economy, there only so many jobs. Illegal aliens are exploited by employers who pay them slave wages. The only source of tax revenue from them is sales and gas taxes and the like, but at those wages, how much are they really giving back?

If that's true, then we have bigger problems than immigration.

Uh, yeah. Come to California to see it all in action, and compounded by a batshit insane state government that has effectively declared open economic warfare on anyone in the "net plus" column. Some of the corrupt antics here border on those of fascist governments of the past- openly padding their pockets, taking bribes from lobbyists and openly expressing utter contempt toward anyone who questions their corruption. Personally, I'm amazed no one has taken a shot at one of these scumbags yet. It's *that* bad.

Re:$1.4 Billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31511020)

"...This assumes that each new person is a net cost to government coffers..."

Conceded in the ObamaCare debate, see the Abortion funding arguments and the rationing arguments.

Re:$1.4 Billion (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510660)

Along those lines...

Hair based drug testing relies on melanin - most drugs they test for bind to the melanin in the hair.
So detecting drugs in people with black hair is 50x easier than it is for people with blond hair.

So you get a situation where the entire process is racist, but most of the people have no idea just how biased it is and just accept on blind faith that the people in charge are doing the right thing.

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510906)

Yes, but how do you detect drugs in the hair of somebody who doesn't do drugs?

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510960)

The point is that white people get to take drugs and get away with it while the browner people do not.
Selective enforcement based on hair color is racism.
But thanks for demonstrating just how deeply some people have abrogated their critical thinking skills to the war on drugs.

Re:$1.4 Billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510664)

It's far too easy to play the "racism" card. It even gets in the way of you thinking reasonably about certain social situations.

You need to keep in mind that there are many significant benefits to keeping uneducated foreigners out of one's nation:

1) Educated people have a better chance of contributing positively to their new nation. Their knowledge and talent likely has benefits for the society they're entering.
2) Educated people are more likely to be able to sustain themselves, and won't become a welfare burden.
3) Educated people are more likely to be able to sustain themselves, and won't be driven to partake in petty crime.
4) Educated people are more likely to stress the important of education upon their children. This will help prevent the next generation from becoming welfare bums and criminals.

That's just a few to get you started. If you aren't a moron, I'm sure you can think of many, many more benefits to only allowing in educated people.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510666)

There are water shortages across huge sections of the country. For a while there were talks of riots ensuing in the Atlanta area as water levels were reaching dangerously low levels. The roads, schools, and prisons are filled to capacity. There are shortages of decent cheap housing.

Tough luck for you if the majority of people in this country don't want this problem exacerbated.

Re:$1.4 Billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510714)

Have you ever considered that the US is not in need of unskilled labor? The unemployment for that section of the work force is something like 30%.
Yet it should just have an open door police?

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510798)

Maybe because the U.S. welfare/medicare system is already overburdened and therefore wants educated/professional people who will ADD funds to the system, not suck more out.

I'd also argue that the U.S. has enough people already. When the oil crisis hits in the 2020s (price rises about $200/barrel), we'll have a hard enough time feeding the 310 million persons we have now. We don't need more bodies to make the situation worse. I'm not saying we should completely stop immigration - just be selective in who we let in.

This is no different than how I only allow certain people into my home, not everyone who asks.

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE:

Let's just invite all 6 billion people to live here, even the deadbeats who have nothing to contribute. Let everyone enjoy the U.S.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510928)

By definition Xenophobic doesn't have qualifiers about education or anything else. It's an undue fear of foreigners or things foreign, period.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/xenophobe [reference.com]

What you're describing is something else. Only letting in useful or highly educated people from other countries isn't xenophobic. It may be a dick move but it's _not_ xenophobic.

It's unfortunate about your Nigerian friend, but perhaps she should have spent the last years increasing her education so that she'd have more perceived value?

Re:$1.4 Billion (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510288)

Asking immigrants to follow the law and immigrate legally isn't being a xenophobe.

That depends on the content of the law.

Make It Easy for a Mexican to Become US Citizen (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510340)

As easy as it is for an American to become a Mexican citizen.

oh, wait...

Re:Make It Easy for a Mexican to Become US Citizen (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510740)

Well... granted that the only way for a mexican to become american is for he/she to be rich beforehand. But in all fairness, i should say that its no walk in the park to be a legal immigrant in mexico.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510718)

Asking immigrants to follow the law and immigrate legally isn't being a xenophobe

How is this flamebait?
Sure the laws might need to be changed,
But it isn't fair to others who follow the law.
Just because one group is close to the US boarder they get away will all types of crap.

Re:$1.4 Billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510752)

Asking immigrants to follow the law and immigrate legally isn't being a xenophobe.

No, you're right. it's called being close minded to the fact that the existing immigration laws do not work, on a number of different levels for a variety of situations. But, hey, maybe it's easier to be a xenophobe than to try and address the problem logically.

Also, is it just me, or are there relations to be drawn between the long term fail of the War on Drugs and the long term fail of the War on Immigration? Hrmm.

They're still lawbreakers. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510142)

Regardless of their economic impact, these aliens are still lawbreakers.

There is a legal process for becoming an American citizen. These Mexicans know this, too. They just choose to put their own interests first, and in doing so they willing violate American law.

Those aren't the kind of people that America needs. They clearly don't respect American customs and laws at all. It starts with them breaking immigration laws, and soon enough they've gotten themselves involved in the drug trade, they rape your daughter and then murder any witnesses. After all, American law means nothing to these people. They made that clear with their very arrival in America.

Re:They're still lawbreakers. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510324)

And everyone who downloads a movie or music file from the internet illegally is also going to get involved in the drug trade, rape your daughter and murder any witnesses.

After all they've made is clear that American law means nothing to them by that downloading.

Re:They're still lawbreakers. (2, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510596)

Well, if you do not want Mexicans involved in trafficking drugs then Americans should stop consuming the darn shit. The only reason we keep pumping drugs through the Mexican transport channels it to make them arrive at the USA is because its population is gladly paying whatever price for them.

I am glad that at some point their dream-world gets touched by the reality of drug trading. Just look at the state of Cd. Juarez and the majority of the North of Mexico. If there was no demand on illegal drugs in the USA then the majority of the crimes related to that would be decreased considerably.

Re:They're still lawbreakers. (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510672)

You are right, all that don't respect the laws aren't good enough for america, and should be expelled from the country. Of course, all laws are important, be about immigration, intellectual property, spitting on the streets or even wear masks in open places. After all that scum get expelled, maybe the remaining all lawful residents could like to rename America to Solaria.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1, Insightful)

armyofone (594988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510158)

"Couldn't that $1.4 billion have been better spent buying Valium for the rampant xenophobes in Congress?"

Yes, I couldn't agree more. The only thing coming out of Washington that is good for 'We The People', is gridlock. When they actually do stuff, it always seems to cost us more.

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Interesting)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510776)

It wouldve been better spent in tv ads adressing the dangers drug consumption abuse, while at the same time you legalize drugs.

And then both mexico and the us would be happier, richer countries, with money spent where it should, instead of in a drug "war" nobody can win.

Re:$1.4 Billion (5, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510942)

The only thing coming out of Washington that is good for 'We The People', is gridlock. When they actually do stuff, it always seems to cost us more.

Well, that just might be the intent. After all, for several decades now the US government has been mostly run by people who consider corporate profits the most important thing in the world. Of course, we've long used the term "pork" to refer to Congress passing laws designed to funnel money to companies in their district. This story is just a more blatant recent version of this, where the money is funneled to construction companies while openly ignoring questions about whether it'll even work. The real answer, of course, is "Who cares?", since the actual goal was enriching the officers and stockholders of the construction firms.

The other growing example of this is the US pseudo-debate over health care. If you listen to this "debate" at all, it rapidly becomes clear that they almost never discuss health care itself. Rather, they always talk about the money, primarily insurance money. The main consideration in both Congress and the White House is that the existing insurance companies and the flock of other medical management firms, which do no actual medical work at all, maintain or increase their income. Actual medical care is far down in the list of priorities. Even when corporations such as hospitals are discussed, the "issues" are things like profits, mergers & acquisitions, etc.; they rarely deal with any actual medical issues.

It was especially blatant in the recent "bank bailout". Many analysts reported that the government's support money went almost entirely into three things: officer bonuses, share dividends and acquisitions of smaller financial firms. Almost nothing went into fixing the problems that had got the financial system in trouble. So this was yet again a way of funneling money into the corporate owners, with no concern for whether it solved any actual problems.

But none of this should be surprising. We've even read here frequently how the only important thing is corporate profit, and corporations exist for no other purpose. When this is the major source of almost all campaign funding, you should expect exactly what we've got. And it's the main ideology in US politics these days, in both major parties and several minor parties.

Re:$1.4 Billion (5, Funny)

david.given (6740) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510204)

Couldn't that $1.4 billion have been better spent buying Valium for the rampant xenophobes in Congress? Just trank 'em all out and stop them from worrying about a non-problem.

One of L. Sprague de Camp's fantasy novels features a tribe of barbarians who discuss all political issues twice: once sober, once drunk.

I think this is an excellent idea. Who's going to lobby Congress?

Re:$1.4 Billion (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510478)

Makes sense, but how are we going to get the Republicans sober long enough to get anything done?

Re:$1.4 Billion (5, Funny)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510482)

The nature of political debate and commentary shifts. I can see it now...

* "We need to allocate more funds for Congressional statutory drinking"
* "I can't drink - my religion prohibits this. This law is unconstitutional, waaa!"
* "If you don't drink (Johnny Walker/White Horse/Jack Daniels) you're not a REAL American"
* (In Texas) "...how can we entertain a notion inspired by those East-coast ivory-tower appletini-drinking fag^H^H^H^H liberals...."
* (In Mass) "...how can we entertain a notion espoused by those cow-herding, tequila swilling hick^H^H^H^H conservatives..."
* "The honor'ble member is a MORON! (barf)"
* 100 drunk Senators song
* "More hookers!"
* Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the temperance movement? (Follows the "I have here a list of non-drinking employees of the Department of State" speech)
* Read my lips: no more scotch!
* "Trickle down" economics gets a whole new twist.

... and finally...

* "Mr. President, we must not allow a distillery gap!"

Re:$1.4 Billion (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510530)

How are you going to get them sobered up?

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510850)

That's going to depend really strongly on what kind of drunk the politicians are. The weepy drunks aren't going to be valuable, nor are the horny drunks (ick, try not to think about that too much), while the angry drunks will dominate discussion. (meanwhile the barfy ones will be in the back missing out on everything.) Come to think of it, this won't be that different from normal politics...

Re:$1.4 Billion (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510890)

The source for that story is the Greek historian Herodotos.

Re:$1.4 Billion (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510236)

The Mexicans who do enter illegally aren't exactly "stealing" great jobs from American citizens. They're picking crops, cleaning houses, flipping burgers, etc. The real problem is that our legitimate businesses are legally shipping planeloads of cash overseas for crappy products and services. Do we really need a million plastic "movie tie-in" figurines to be given away with Happy Meals, or blankets with arms in them?

I've heard this come up and the speaker never really supports it but just assumes everyone's on board. I've been to parts of the country without a substantial immigrant population, and believe it or not those crops get picked, those houses get cleaned, and those burgers get flipped. Americans will do those jobs, though usually for a bit more money (which is to be expected when you have to pay those pesky income and social security taxes.)

Re:$1.4 Billion (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510526)

I've heard this come up and the speaker never really supports it but just assumes everyone's on board. I've been to parts of the country without a substantial immigrant population, and believe it or not those crops get picked, those houses get cleaned, and those burgers get flipped. Americans will do those jobs, though usually for a bit more money (which is to be expected when you have to pay those pesky income and social security taxes.)

... You sure those crops aren't being picked by migrants that show up during harvest season and vanish soon after?

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510994)

I'm sure that when I was 12, I was picking crops right next door, and that my son doesn't have the same option to learn to work.

Only part of that is because I moved to the city- they used to bus kids out to the berry fields as well.

Re:$1.4 Billion (3, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510886)

Absolutely, those jobs will get taken by Americans - often high school students and people going to college part time. Problem is today in most cities you can't get a job as a burger-flipper as a high school student. They simply aren't available.

Similarly, if you don't manage to get a college degree and want to get a job you will find that minimum wage jobs pretty much require speaking Spanish, because all your co-workers speak nothing but Spanish. If you are bilingual and have even a little bit of experience you can be the "foreman" but of course there are only a few of those jobs available.

The work that can't be outsourced is now going to low-wage workers right here in the US. Because these people are earning 10x what they could get back home, they are willing to put up with anything to get and keep minimum-wage jobs. This isn't going to change when they become legal, voting citizens. We are building our very own slave underclass right under our noses and most people just don't care. Somehow, we are doing this to "help" the poor in Mexico. Which isn't helping at all because it just allows the upper class there to ignore the situation.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510280)

"Couldn't that $1.4 billion have been better spent buying Valium for the rampant xenophobes in Congress? Just trank 'em all out and stop them from worrying about a non-problem."

Yeah, well, apparently it will cost bit more to medicate all those of us who voted for these douches.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510326)

Nah, if it wasn't wasted on this, it would have been wasted on an afternoon in Iraq.

American citizens? Pffft, who cares about the health of your citizens, when you could be shooting Iraqis!

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510388)

Name one other country that allows anyone to cross into its borders regardless of the reason. Not only that, but allows those illegal immigrants to demand that their language be accepted and spoken by government service workers, and even goes so far as to essentially take over a government office for a day and fly the flag of the migrants country on that office's flag pole. http://workbench.cadenhead.org/news/3007/mexican-flag-raised-over-us-post-office [cadenhead.org]

Re:$1.4 Billion (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510470)

Name one other country with a statue considered to be a national symbol that says "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breath free."

If we don't mean it, we shouldn't have that written on the Statue of Liberty. Just sayin'.

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510400)

I grew up in a small midwestern town, and maybe this makes me xenophobic, but would it be too much to ask if people immigrating to this country would culturally integrate themselves to the point of at least learning the language?

A a woman who proudly defined herself as a Russian Jew, made it a point to tell me that her son, who was born in the USA, was learning Russian as his first language because she wanted him to have a Russian accent - and that he could learn English when he was in kindergarten.

She wouldn't let him watch American television at all, so no Sesame Street, Barney or Teletubbies.

And she has the right to do that, but isn't she perpetuating "us"-vs-"them" and making sure that her son doesn't assimilate?

I dunno ... maybe I "am" xenophobic or racist, or whatever. Intellectually, I don't think that people from other cultures are "bad" - but I'm also kind of sentimental about the small town homogeneous culture I grew up in. :\

It's just frustrating ...

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510812)

The first European immigrants didn't bother to do that, so why should everyone else? It seems a bit of a double-standard. Especially when loads of immigrants stay in areas that have historically belonged to a certain Spanish-speaking country. Or are you asking for all non-Spanish-speakers in SoCal to start speaking Spanish? :)

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510902)

What can I tell you... I think that if youve ever been to california and talked to a mexican-american you would realize that mexican children that grow up in the states speak english as well as any other american kid. I dont think you are xenophobic, I just think that you are not realizing that its hard to an adult to learn the language perfectly in years. It would be very hard for you to go to, say, Hungary and learn hungarian in five years, isnt it?

So further generations WILL be plain americans, will do their military service, will go to college and will pay all taxes you ask of them. There is no reason to assume otherwise.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510466)

The Mexicans who do enter illegally aren't exactly "stealing" great jobs from American citizens.

Many of them aren't taking (much less stealing) jobs at all: they are the non-working family members of legal immigrants or naturalized citizens who are notionally in one of the "priority" categories for legal immigration, and who otherwise would be supported by money sent out of the country by the worker who is legally here. Unfortunately, because instead of an overall limit within which the number of slots per country is set by the number of qualified immigrants in the priority category per country, our immigration quotas are set up to limit any one country to a particular small percentage of the overall total annually. Consequently, in most of the family categories, countries where there are lots of eligible immigrants with relatives who wish to sponsor them -- Mexico, obviously, but also India and a number of other countries -- have very long (decade plus) backlogs.

This defeats the entire purpose of having family-priority for immigration, which is reinforce the ties of current legal immigrants to this country by having whole families here.

Our immigration policy is poorly designed to meet its notional purposes.

Re:$1.4 Billion (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510538)

>>>The Mexicans who do enter illegally aren't exactly "stealing" great jobs from American citizens

Just as I don't want to find some intruder walking around in my house without permission, neither do I want an intruder entering my country without permission. Pack them up, hand them a VISA application form, and send them home.

As for jobs, given the current ~10% unemployment rate, a lot of these businesses don't need to hire intruders from Mexico or Canada anymore. There are plenty of hungry or homeless Americans willing to pick crops or defeather chickens or whatever else it takes to earn money to survive.

Final thought - My Japanese and Chinese friends are not intruders. They applied for and got permission to come here (and eventually gain citizenship). I don't see why there should be an exception for any other group.
.

>>>The real problem is that our legitimate businesses are legally shipping planeloads of cash overseas for crappy products and services.

True but when oil rises to $200/barrel during the next decade that problem will self-correct itself. It will no longer be affordable to ship goods all the way from China, and instead the factories will be built on this continent.

Re:$1.4 Billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510634)

A blanket with an arm in it is exactly what I need; I am taking a very long plane ride in the near future. I am willing to spend extra if the arm is heated somehow.

Anonymous? Oh you bet.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510688)

I think that its not only an immigration problem: that is how they sell it to the repugs. Its the drug problem and, as Milton Friedman put it, its a DAMNED STUPID way to attempt to thwart ANY kind of contraband, including illegal immigrants contraband. You see, the real problem is not the immigration itself and the jobs it might take, because, really, americans dont WANT to work the fields or the mens room at the yankee stadium.

The real problem is that they are attempting to thwart a growing and very powerfull mafia that moves human organs (children organ's in many cases), slave sexual labor (children in many cases), drugs, slave labor and whatever anyone pays to move to the US, by actually eliminating their competition and securing their monopolies by artificially elevating the entry barrier to the market (with technology, which will be thwarted by the more intelligent and thus more powerfull contrabandists, but not by their smaller competition).

And on and on the circle goes forever while, as friedman said, stupid politicians with good intentions keep peddling their crap without tending, for a second, to reason.

Ah...reason.... that thing weve lost in both sides of the border.

hell, all of us, americans and mexicans, should move to canada.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510794)

The Mexicans who do enter illegally aren't exactly "stealing" great jobs from American citizens. They're picking crops, cleaning houses, flipping burgers, etc.
 
When 18 million Americans are unemployed, great jobs aren't an issue- ANY JOB IS THE ISSUE.

Re:$1.4 Billion (3, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510874)

The Mexicans who do enter illegally aren't exactly "stealing" great jobs from American citizens. They're picking crops, cleaning houses, flipping burgers, etc. The real problem is that our legitimate businesses are legally shipping planeloads of cash overseas for crappy products and services. Do we really need a million plastic "movie tie-in" figurines to be given away with Happy Meals, or blankets with arms in them?

When I was 16, I worked "flipping burgers". Rather than a high-school or college student doing it now, there's a 30 some odd polite (yes) Hispanic lady doing it. Is she here legally? I can't say, but I suspect she is. As well several of the staff.

On a higher level, at my current job (before our buy out), several people were making near or over $40k using bogus SSNs. Were THEY here legally? Cant say -- but they all bailed during our company buy out (and re-hire screening). I dont know about you, but I'd say $40k/year is far from your "[not] exactly great jobs [for] Americans" comment.

That said, my wife is a legal immigrant (from Syria). Came here when she was 19. Here entire family is from either Syria or Lebanon. Two of my grand parents immigrated legally. The others (except maternal grandfather's family) came one generation sooner. Apparently Pop-pop's family goes back to the early 1700s or earlier in Deleware.

What bothers me is people try to make this about race or "xenophobia". It's not. Its about national sovereignty. Why would it be bad to protect our southern border in the exact same way that Mexico protects it's southern border? I understand why Mexico protests -- as it would mean an end to a HUGE part of it's GDP (money flowing back in from the US from Mexican nationals working in the US illegally).

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510920)

>> Do we really need a million plastic "movie tie-in" figurines to be given away with Happy Meals, or blankets with arms in them?

Hey! Do not knock the Snuggie!

      -dZ.

Idiot... (0)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510980)

The Mexicans who do enter illegally aren't exactly "stealing" great jobs from American citizens.

Seriously, how does an adult person get to be this fucking stupid? Are you ex-military? Did your mother do drugs while pregnant?

Every 100 crop-picking immigrants equals three Americans driving tractors, one American maintaining those tractors, and one American building them. We have chemicals and vacuum-cleaners and disposable wet-mops. We don't need a million immigrants with toothbrushes hand-scrubbing out houses for us. I'd rather have a job producing steam-cleaners than being unemployed, and most Americans would too. Burgers can be flipped by machines. Drinks at your nearest McDonalds are already filled automatically, no immigrants required. I'd rather have the job of making those machines than have a million more minimum-wage mouths to feed, dragging down the average wage along with living standards.

Even if you're too lazy or stupid to do productive work, please stop pissing all over your fellow citizens who are.

Re:$1.4 Billion (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31511034)

Your statement that Mexicans are not stealing jobs is another fallacy. So what if it is a crappy job? What about college students? Should they be able to
take these crappy jobs while in school so they can pay for their books? I remember in the late 80s they were offering p/t jobs at McDonalds for $10.00/hour.

People claim that Mexicans take jobs that legal residents don't. The correct statement is that Mexicans takes jobs at a pay rate that legal residents won't take. Of course, this is in part because they don't pay the taxes, as many of the jobs are under the table so they don't pay taxes on them.

In Mexico, if you work illegally, they will prosecute you. To attend school, you MUST show evidence you are legally able to attend school.

There are two words to consider, illegal and legal. Can you tell the difference?

The Fat Lady Sings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510064)

The fat lady has sung for the fence. [thefatlady...online.com]
There's no defense like the virtual fence.

really? (3, Funny)

big whiffer (906132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510136)

is it dead... or just virtually dead?

What is a virtual fence? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510190)

I went to the wikipedia page on sbinet and got wiped out by a wall of text. What exactly is a virtual fence and what is it supposed to do?

Re:What is a virtual fence? (1)

armyofone (594988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510498)

"I went to the wikipedia page on sbinet and got wiped out by a wall of text. What exactly is a virtual fence and what is it supposed to do?"

Well, I think the plan was to bury a wire all along the border. Then, you'd just need all the illegal immigrants to wear this collar, see. And then, when they try to cross where the wire is buried, they'd get a shock that would send them scurrying back to the south...

Or, maybe not.

Re:What is a virtual fence? (2, Funny)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510698)

You said it yourself.

They were trying to put up a giant wall of text along the border.

Re:What is a virtual fence? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510958)

If they just put up giant Ctrl+Alt+Delete comics, it'd scare just about anybody out of coming into the country.

Re:What is a virtual fence? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510766)

I've always wondered about the fatal flaw in the "invisible fence" for dogs... sure, it punishes them for trying to leave the yard, but once they leave the yard (e.g. by following their instincts to chase a squirrel) it also punishes them for coming back... not exactly the message I want to send to my dog! Does a fence on the border also make it harder for illegals to return home?

replace physical fence with smart cameras (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510770)

The cameras would detect human-like and vehicular motion and notify the border patrol for interception. These would be used in unpopulated areas. According to a 60 Minutes piece, the technology was still in the research stage and not up to snuff. The desert environment was brutal on the devices. There is no power or communications infrastructure in these area, so that all had to be added. Desert wildlife set the alarms off. There were many potential points of failure. Perhaps we should have hired the Israelis.

Awesome (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510218)

Now if we can just put an end to the asinine "war on drugs", we'll be in good shape. When the laws surrounding a substance are more harmful than the substance itself, there is a serious problem.

As far as the fence is concerned, if we had just poured $1.4 billion into Mexico's economy instead of this cluster fuck of an idea, workers would have less of a reason to leave Mexico and try to sneak into our country. They come here for jobs, but if we help create jobs in their own country...

We will never be able to keep them out, so why not make it so they have no reason to come here?

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510428)

I thought that was the purpose for us sabotaging our economy?

Re:Awesome (1, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510488)

Now if we can just put an end to the asinine "war on drugs", we'll be in good shape. When the laws surrounding a substance are more harmful than the substance itself, there is a serious problem.

That would be true, except the conservatives who were pushing this before the great satan became elected to the office of president needed a hopeless cause to distract their constituents from their problems, some of which were induced by the republican-led government (like a trillion dollar unnecessary war). The current distractions are all Obama, health care, and guns. Once the republicans get back into office, they'll go back to railing against immigrants, drugs and people who aren't like "good old-fashioned red blooded americans".

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510846)

Once the republicans get back into office, they'll go back to railing against immigrants

You may not be aware of this but the last immigration bill was pushed heavily by Bush, McCain, and other Republican leaders.

Re:Awesome (5, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510712)

There is no way to "create jobs" in Mexico without first staging a revolution. The problem is that the upper class owns just about everything and isn't interested in employing people and is very interested in keeping prices for things like food down. So the farmers get nothing for their crops and end up living as subsistance farmers. Understand that it is completely divided across racial lines in Mexico - the Mexican Indians are poor, the Castillians are the upper class. Why we in the US should help perpetuate this system is beyond me.

How do you fix that? Well, building foreign-owned factories doesn't do it. Sure, it makes a slight difference in an area around Juarez, but nothing else. And because there is no foundation to build on, the people with jobs at the factory have no idea what to do with their different life.

Today, if someone crosses the border from north to south into Mexico they will be met by the Mexican Army, arrested and likely confined, possibly for a long time. There is no possibility that someone is going to stay there unmolested - the people will turn the "invader" in if they manage to elude the Army and the police. This is the complete opposite of what happens to a border crosser going from south to north - which means pretty much we deserve exactly what we are getting.

The only way that this will end is when the standard of living is equal between the two countries. Since raising the standard in Mexico is impossible because of the culture and financial system, it means that the US has to have the same standard of living as Mexico does today. With 25% real unemployment, very tight credit and a collapsed housing market we are well on our way there. When the amnesty is passed later this year we will likely see that there are 20-30 million people from Mexico in the US in a few years. This will pretty much put the finishing touches on the labor market.

A strong border is simply not a priority with most people. Either they don't see the effects or they somehow believe that we "owe" it to Mexico to help the poor people so the upper class can continue to ignore them. Of course many businesses welcome the minimum-wage labor force that is supplied from Mexico. The work that cannot be outsourced can be done in the US by people to whom minimum wage for a week is 10 times what they could make in a year back home.

Sure, we could have built a strong border - but without support of the citizens of the US it would never work. And we clearly do not have support of the citizens. Napolitano wanted to throw open the border when she was governer in Arizona, probably mostly for the benefit of the businesses here. The fact that it makes getting a entry-level low-skill job impossible meant nothing to her.

We better build a really strong social safety net, because when we are at 30-40% unemployment we are all going to need it.

Re:Awesome (0, Offtopic)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510930)

Ah, an intelligent man here on slashdot. You are a common man here, Pojut, but a jewell for the uninitiated. I agree with the whole blurb.

Poorly conceived idea? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510230)

It was brillant... convinced the congress to pay them 1.4b for just snake oil.

Re:Poorly conceived idea? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510346)

Ain't no business like contracting for Fed. Hollywood's got nothing on this.

Re:Poorly conceived idea? (2, Insightful)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510394)

Yeah. $1.4b of webcams and summer intern projects. What a great educational outreach program and subsidy for chinese electronics.

California Agriculture Wins Again (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510318)

They say they can't compete without cheap labor, but it they'd have invested as much in robots as they have in lobbying for protection and special access to illegal immigrants, then they'd be competitive without having to load NAFTA with special protections just for them. (free trade. ha!)

Now the restaurants and building industry are spraying malathion on the middle class suburbs. (just call your critics "xenophobes" and you WIN the argument. wtf? )

Just fine the crap out of people that hire illegals and the problem goes away.

but no. let's build a virtual fence and make sure it doesn't work.

If picking lettuce and sweeping floors is scarce labor, how come wages have gone down in these industries? Why is average working Joe making less? Wouldn't wages have gone up if the labor was as scarce as some people whine about?

Re:California Agriculture Wins Again (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510976)

Not even the japaneese have a robot that can pick a cotton or grape field for the cost/quality that you get from a poor human with an idiotically large family. We are not there and personally I think we will get a genetically modified cabernet sauvignon that can pick itself and make itself wine before you can have a decent picking robot.

This project was not about building a fence (4, Insightful)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510366)

This project was about two things:
1) Lining the pockets of a lot of people
2) Making those who fear illegal immigration feel better

Goal 1 was *very* successful. Goal 2, not as much but...there will be other mufti-million dollar projects coming up that will.

Seriously, did anyone really think this would work? Of course not. Plain common sense would immediately tell you this was destined for failure. Government and corporations simply ignored that and moved forward, That's a difference between "them" and "us."

Re:This project was not about building a fence (0, Troll)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510504)

Right on...

Another failed Bush program that lined the pockets of the politically connected.

Re:This project was not about building a fence (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510546)

Boeing built a 28-mile test section in the Southern Arizona desert. It didn't work. The company regrouped, redesigned and redeployed one set of towers near the first set. It is building another section right now. The entire border was supposed to be covered a year ago, but after three years -- and $1.4 billion -- the system is still full of bugs.

They just need to try a couple more times. Use makes master - even prehistoric Britons knew what was up:

When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.

Re:This project was not about building a fence (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510572)

"... there will be other mufti-million dollar projects coming up that will"

Millions are soooooo 1990s, chump change is now measured in billions, and apparently, if you want people to even notice, you have to spend in trillions.

Re:This project was not about building a fence (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510990)

>>>Government and corporations simply ignored that and moved forward, That's a difference between "them" and "us."

Actually corporations would have enough sense to realize, "This won't work," and cancel the project ahead of time to save themselves cash. But since it was government paying the bill, the corporation didn't give a frak about wasting gov't money.

Re:This project was not about building a fence (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510992)

The concept and goal is completely feasible. It has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with private companies that live within there own world where everyone is just as likely to stab someone else in the back as they are to actually try to progress a project.

Had in been a government design, and implemented in a manner where companies bid for pieces to complete, instead of the whole thing, it could be successful.

I mean it's not really needed and does nothing but pander to irrational fear, but the fence is possible.

If they had called it SkyNet (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510378)

If they had just called it SkyNet (or even SyFyNet) we could all rest easier.

lllegal immigration is only an issue when.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510484)

the economy isn't doing well. It's an easy distraction for the government to use so the people don't realize how much of a role the government is playing in screwing up the economy in the first place. Honestly, most of those illegal Mexicans are harder working than many Americans at the poverty level. I still don't see Americans out of work lining up to pick grapes, or mow lawns for the minimum wage, do you?

No one talked about illegal immigration in the 90s when things were great. A healthy economy makes illegal immigration a non-issue.

New solution is.. (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510486)

.. there are no jobs in US even for unemployed but willing to work US citizens, so illegal immigrants don't have reason to come to US anymore. If they do, they might regret doing so.

This is not going to change soon.

Re:New solution is.. (1)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510790)

If only that were true. Unfortunately, many Americans feel that landscaping, picking fruit and nuts and other low end jobs are beneath them. Besides they can make more by doing less and collecting unemployment. And of course it takes no effort at all to stand at the end of an exit ramp with a sign.

Maybe it's because... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510730)

...as a UK citizen I'm not paying for this, but my first thought was that for a product (potentially) of that scale, a $1.4bn write-off doesn't sound all *that* much. It's only a small fraction of the $12bn+ wasted on a disastrous IT project by the NHS in England.

Re:Maybe it's because... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510744)

Sorry, correction- £12bn... that's over US $18bn.

Yes! We saved the future! (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510734)

Skynet is dead!

What is that? Oh, Sbinet! Nevermind then. Keep running, Connor.

Top-Down Error (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510784)

This is a classic example of Top-Down Error. Government was approached or approached a few big-players and they all agreed that it would be just peachy. Reality has a way of spoiling the party often times however. If they had adopted a more open model such as a bazaar of ideas that could have completed with each other through criticism I'm sure that something else while it also may not have been 100% effective would have emerged that would have been at least just as good and cost far less. Government has a fascination with centralization it appears they think it is the way to go, I disagree: I think that decentralized is better for cost, flexibility, and reliability. I also think that given few players with centralization that it is also effectively a command economy/system. See how well that has worked in history.

what software did project SBInet utilize ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31510792)

"Those problems included Boeing's use of inappropriate commercial software [washingtonpost.com] , designed for use by police dispatchers"

This is yet another example (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510904)

of how large private companies only beholden to a few shareholders can not reliably build large complex systems.

It's sad that $1.5 billion (3, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510922)

It's sad that $1.5 billion had to be spent to try and protect honest God-fearing Americans from poor Mexicans who wanted to pick our fruit for minimum wage.

Too much sensing, not enough firepower (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31510946)

This was all about "sensing". It didn't actually do anything to stop border crossers.

Multiple fences with a patrol road between them, plus a chain of towers to discourage people cutting the fence, might actually work. The sections with physical fences are doing their job now. There's solid fence from the Pacific Ocean to Yuma, AZ., which has pushed crossing attempts into Texas and the desert.

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