Fencing the Border: Boeing's High-Tech Plan Falters by Joseph Richey, Special to Corp WatchJuly 9th, 2007
A 28-mile stretch of the Sonoran desert that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border west of the city of Nogales, Arizona, is a sun-baked battleground. Pronghorn antelope, javelina, rattlers, a few pigmy owls, and even jaguars compete for scarce resources amidst the saguaro, mesquite, and prickly pear. Also struggling for survival in the parched landscape are hundreds of migrants who hike the miles of uncharted northbound trails and roads pursued by border patrol officers, security contractors, and law enforcement agents. Many of the would-be immigrants are captured, processed and deported; some are identified as criminal aliens and detained; others make it into the U.S. to take low-wage jobs; and hundreds more die every year in the searing desert heat. A new predator is on the horizon. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued task orders to physically and electronically seal this stretch of the desert under a multi-billion dollar contract named the Secure Border Initiative Net (SBInet) to curb the flow of undocumented immigrants, drugs, and potential terrorists by 2013. This first $20 million pilot phase, which is named Project 28 after the length of this part of the desert that it is supposed to cover, was to be completed by mid-June 2007.
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