A 28-mile "virtual fence" that will use radars and surveillance cameras to try to catch people entering the country illegally has gotten final government approval.
'Virtual' border fence gets final approval; will snare illegal immigrants
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Friday was to announce approval of the fence, built by the Boeing Co. and using technology the Bush administration plans to extend to other areas of the Arizona border, as well as sections of Texas. These projects could get under way as early as this summer, officials said.
The virtual fence is part of a national plan to secure the southwest border with physical barriers and high-tech detection capabilities intended to stop illegal immigrants on foot and drug smugglers in vehicles. As of Feb. 8, 295 miles of fencing had been constructed.
The virtual fence already is working.
On Feb. 13, an officer in a Tucson command center — 70 miles from the border — noticed a group of about 100 people gathered at the border. The officer notified agents on the ground and in the air. Border Patrol caught 38 of the 100 people who tried to cross illegally, and the others went back into Mexico, a Homeland Security official said.