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Phantom Fence: 600 Million Dollars of Protection is Missing

Written by American Patrol Report

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phantomii.jpgSeptember 15, 2008
$600 Million of Protection is Missing
 American Patrol Report
A dispute has arisen over the amount of border fence that the Department of Homeland Security has constructed. In yesterday's Sierra Vista Herald, Angela de Rocha of the office of public affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C. claimed that, as of Aug. 29, a total 190 miles of border pedestrian fence had been constructed under the Secure Border Initiative.

There is a serious dispute over this number and the difference amounts to more than $600 million dollars of construction costs. According to a recent report by the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), as of Aug. 22, the Secure Border Initiative had constructed 109 miles of pedestrian fence.
 
"The GAO report is unambiguous," said Glenn Spencer of American Border Patrol, "Table 3 of the report clearly states that as of 8/22/08 there were 109 ‘Miles deployed through SBI as of 8/22/08' of pedestrian fence. This is totally consistent with what we have found." An aerial survey by American Border Patrol found that, as of July 29, 108 miles of had been constructed by DHS's Strategic Border Initiative.

    The cost of constructing the border fence has skyrocketed, according to the GAO, and is now set at about $7.5 million per mile. The difference between GAO and ABP fence miles and that of the DHS amounts to 81 miles, or $608 million.

    It was recently disclosed that the DHS has run out of money for the border fence project. "Is this a phantom fence? How can they not know that $600 million dollars of fence was not constructed?" Spencer said. "The history of the DHS border effort tells me that DHS Secretary Chertoff is not interested in securing the border and has allowed Customs and Border Protection to intentionally burn up billions of dollars on silliness and very little on building a fence," he added.

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