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Boeing to build "virtual" fence; Tohono O'odham Indians might oppose real fence

Boeing has apparently been selected as the contractor for a small, initial part of the proposed "virtual" fence on the southern border. This is not to be confused with the plan currently being voted on in Congress.

Boeing will get $80 million for the first phase of the "Secure Border Initiative", but might get as much as (and probably more than) $2 billion over six years. The "virtual" version, as conceived by Boeing, will consist of towers, sensors and the like. Proposals from other companies would have used unmanned drones or balloons that could fly for many hours and patrol long stretches of the border. Boeing will only use small drones that stay up for ninety minutes (and probably less) and are for surveillance of specific incidents, not for general patrols.

Meanwhile, regarding the real fence, the Tohono O'odham Indians - located on a reservation from Tucson running southwest to the border - might oppose the plan:
...Tribal leaders have cooperated with Border Patrol enforcement, but they promised to fight the building of a fence out of environmental and cultural concerns...

...With tribal police, health and other services overwhelmed by illegal immigration, the Indians welcomed National Guard members this summer to assist the Border Patrol here. The tribe, after negotiations with the Department of Homeland Security, also agreed to a plan for concrete vehicle barriers at the fence and the grading of the dirt road parallel to it for speedier Border Patrol and tribal police access. The Indians also donated a parcel this year for a small Border Patrol substation and holding pen.

Tribal members, however, fearing the symbolism of a solid wall and concern about the free range of deer, wild horses, coyotes, jackrabbits and other animals they regard as kin, said they would fight the kind of steel-plated fencing that Congress had in mind and that has slackened the crossing flow in previous hot spots like San Diego...
It probably wouldn't cost all that much to have a few additional guarded openings in the fence; perhaps that might be enough to get their support. Especially considering how much they'd save on not having their reservation covered in trash and their hospital overwhelmed.

Immigration · Wed, 09/20/2006 - 04:05 · Importance: 1