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59% say build 'virtual fence' on border

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59% say build 'virtual fence' on border

Project halted, plagued by overruns & tech glitches

  • The U.S. Border Patrol's virtual fence project is equipped with surveillance cameras and motion sensors.
    Austin Counts/ArizonaNewsService.comThe U.S. Border Patrol's virtual fence project is equipped with surveillance cameras and motion sensors.

Despite this week's halt to funding for the border fence, 59 percent of Americans say the government should continue to build a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.

A national survey finds that 26 percent think that fence construction should be stopped, says Rasmussen Reports:

Following this week’s shooting deaths of U.S. consulate personnel in Mexico, 49% say they are more concerned about drug violence along the border than illegal immigration. Thirty-nine percent (39%) remain more concerned about illegal immigration. This is consistent with findings in January 2009 amid news reports of escalating drug violence in Mexico.

The "virtual fence" was designed to line the U.S.-Mexico border from Texas to the coast of California. The 2,000 mile stretch was planned to be covered with remote-controlled cameras, radar and other sensors.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano halted the fence project on Tuesday. The border fence has seen cost overruns and technical problems.

A report released by the General Accountability Office on Thursday detailed technical failures and irregularities in the testing of the SBInet "virtual fence" system.

The GAO found that tests were rigged to pass SBInet systems. "A large percentage were changed extemporaneously during execution in order to fulfill the purpose of the test," says the report. "While some of the changes were minor, others were more significant, such as rewriting entire procedures and changing the mapping of requirements to cases."

The report found that "the number of new defects identified [is] generally increasing faster than the number being fixed — a trend that is not indicative of a system that is maturing."

While the government has struggled for years to implement the high-tech fence, a new Rasmussen poll finds that 72 percent of Americans say the military should be used along the border.

What's your take?

Should the government continue the "virtual fence" project? Should the military be stationed at the border? Are you concerned by the rising drug violence in Mexico? Do we need a moat of fire filled with fire-proof alligators? Let us know in the comments.

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