• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Virtual Fences Can Help Make Real Good Neighbors

    TUCSON, AZ: During my visit to the Tucson border area, I visited “P-28,” a test-bed of cameras, radar, and other sensors that cover 28 miles of the border. Often referred to as the “virtual fence,” it was the first step in the Secure Border Initiative or “SBI Net,” Homeland Security’s effort to bring technology to the border. Mired in controversy and bad publicity, P-28 is really a good news story that bodes well for the future of the department’s effort to secure the border.P-28 runs along more than two dozen miles of open desert near Sasabe, Arizona. P-28 had two problems (1) Bad PR and (2) nobody asked the Border Patrol what they really needed.

    The first phase of SBI Net was never more than a test-bed, an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Much of the criticism of the project ignores the fact that it was one big experiment—and that putting technology in hostile, desert border environment is a lot harder than it looks.

    The second problem is that the department built its virtual fence first and then asked the Border Patrol how they liked it. Needless to say a bunch of engineers who are not seasoned border agents would have benefited from more customer input from the start.

    Despite all the missteps, the Border Patrol learned a lot from P-28. The system also showed that virtual fences can help. P-28 was responsible for over 3,600 apprehensions. In addition, the radars gave valuable intelligence that helped the Border Patrol understand smuggling routes, making interdiction efforts more effective.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×