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$500 million to observe the entire Mexican border with military technology?

Sounds like one heck of a deal. From "Renzi wants military technology to track immigrants at border":
Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., says state-of-the-art military technology should be employed to help the U.S. Border Patrol peer into Mexico to locate and track the movements of immigrants, smugglers and potential terrorists before they cross the border.

Aerostat balloons, equipped with night-vision capabilities and other intelligence equipment, already are in use by the Defense Department in various other regions, Renzi said in an interview Wednesday...
He wants to look into Mexico, which prompts an embassy spokesman to say that could conflict with Mexican law. Of course, one way around that would be to refer to the balloons as "undocumented observation platforms". Remember: no balloon is illegal.
...Renzi estimates the cost of putting this technology in place along the entire 1,951-mile U. S.-Mexico border at about $500 million. Arizona's 389-mile share of the border with Mexico includes remote, treacherous expanses of desert and well-established smuggling corridors.

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a think tank based in Alexandria, Va., said Renzi's plan to use military technology to peer across the border for potential undocumented immigrants and smugglers does not, in his view, raise any privacy concerns.

After all, he said, those individuals, if spotted, are clearly "out in the open."

But Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said a build-up of law enforcement and equipment along the border has not worked so far in stemming the tide of illegal immigration. He said ideas to improve or tighten border security, such as Renzi's, must still be combined with the creation of more legal channels for people to come to this country and work.
Click the link to find out more about that fine American organization. While I don't want balloons or similar monitoring U.S. cities, on the border that's perfectly acceptable.

Immigration2005b · Fri, 09/23/2005 - 10:28 · Importance: 1