Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bill language gives hazy view of wall specifics

In response to my request for information about specifications on President Bush's newly authorized border fence, Benders' Dan Kowalski sent me a copy of the actual enabling law. It basically tells them where to build the fence, but nothing about the specs except that it must be "reinforced," have two layers, and requires "the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors."

Is it just me or does that sound a lot like the Berlin Wall? Here's the full section on exactly where the wall will be built, and all we know so far about what it will look like:
SEC. 3. CONSTRUCTION OF FENCING AND SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS IN BORDER AREA FROM PACIFIC OCEAN TO GULF OF MEXICO.

Section 102(b) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (Public Law 104–208; 8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is amended —

H. R. 6061—2
(1) in the subsection heading by striking ‘‘NEAR SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA’’; and
(2) by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:

‘‘(1) SECURITY FEATURES.—

‘‘(A) REINFORCED FENCING.—In carrying out subsection
(a), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors—
‘‘(i) extending from 10 miles west of the Tecate, California, port of entry to 10 miles east of the Tecate, California, port of entry;
‘‘(ii) extending from 10 miles west of the Calexico, California, port of entry to 5 miles east of the Douglas, Arizona, port of entry;
‘‘(iii) extending from 5 miles west of the Columbus, New Mexico, port of entry to 10 miles east of El Paso, Texas;
‘‘(iv) extending from 5 miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry to 5 miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry; and
‘‘(v) extending 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry.

‘‘(B) PRIORITY AREAS.—With respect to the border described—
‘‘(i) in subparagraph (A)(ii), the Secretary shall ensure that an interlocking surveillance camera system is installed along such area by May 30, 2007, and that fence construction is completed by May 30, 2008; and
‘‘(ii) in subparagraph (A)(v), the Secretary shall ensure that fence construction from 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to 15 southeast of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry is completed by December 31, 2008.‘‘

(C) EXCEPTION.—If the topography of a specific area has an elevation grade that exceeds 10 percent, the Secretary may use other means to secure such area, including the use of surveillance and barrier tools.’’
That still doesn't tell me what the wall will look like, just where it might go - that is, if the slope isn't too steep. Will it be five feet high? Twenty feet? What are the "additional physical barriers." I'm curious because, if, say, the wall will be ten feet high, it might be wise to invest in the largest Mexican producer of 11 foot ladders. ;)

If anybody hears of more details on specs for the wall, maybe from DHS, the Army Corps of Engineers or whoever will build the thing, please let me know.

UPDATE: REACTION FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE. Mark Parent thinks the fence will never be built. Conservatives at Freedom Folks are unimpressed ("Whoop-de-do" and "1,300 miles short"). Innovation Online also dislikes Congress' math. According to this MSNBC online poll, the public doesn't think a fence will work by a 2-1 margin. Hot Air has video of the President's press conference. (It's good for a laugh, e.g., we're going to "build on our successes," his administration has deported 6 million people, etc. - if so, then what's the problem?). Shining City Atop The Hill says the "damn fence" is "essential" but "unfunded." Piney Woods Rooter suggests electrifying the fence and installing land mines, while Texas Fred wants fence crossers shot on sight. This blogger wants the fence so the Mexican military won't invade! Divine emmina can think of better ways to spend the money. Don't Believe Everything says the idea bespeaks a "country club mentality." This fellow is mad that other nations have an opinion. Marcos educated himself and has changed his position because "complaining about immigration is like yelling at the rain." Will it be rabbit proof? Josh Nipps thinks the President has lost his mind. Bring it On! says the fence shows wasting money has become a GOP hallmark. News as Gossip suggests we place a giant "D" next to the barrier, while this blogger wonders when Halliburton will open its new fence production facilities.

MORE REACTIONS: Here's a response from LULAC. "Big Whoop," says Post An Apology. The Daily Background says the media dropped the ball. At ImmigrationProf blog we find an interesting essay by Houston law professor Michael Olivas called "Fences and Mushrooms." Blonde Sagacity can't think of any downsides, but posts a hilarious wall-climbing pic. Opinio Juris says the wall could be an ecological disaster. Pardon my English says "This half-assed attempt at border security isn't winning the Republicans any brownie points with me." Jake says the other 1400 miles of border will continue to operate on the "honor system." The Just News blog quotes former Border Patrol supervisor now-Texas Congressman Sylvestre Reyes calling the wall an "empty gesture." South Texas Chisme gives several reasons why it's a stupid idea. Addison Road says fear is the highest fence.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Berlin wall was meant to keep people IN! Yeah I know, those rascally Neo-cons are building the wall, with the help of Skull and Bones, Halliburton, and The New York Mob, so that future President Herbert G.W. Bush, Jr. in 2059 can hold us hostage from the freedom and opportunity Mexico has to offer.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

The comparison is with the physical structure. As described, it sounds pretty close.

800 pound gorilla said...

What! Getting specifics on a scam? What are you talking about. I tried to get details on standards used to determine drug criminalization from the DEA just under 2 years ago. I did this in writing through my local congressperson Defazio [Oregon 4th]. I was blithely ignored [because, of course, the DEA operates totally without scientific standards or guidelines - which explains why pharmaceutical political contributions are so high].

Anonymous said...

Can we call it the Freedom Fence?

Josh Nipps said...

Holy crazy. You randomally cited me in your responses in the blogospehere (josh nipps). Wicked.