back to article US Eye-o-Sauron border scan tower project finally axed

The USA's troubled SBInet border security programme appears to have finally been given a mercy bullet, according to reports. The long-delayed, overbudget effort was meant to ensure that nothing and nobody could move along the southern US border without detection, using a line of netted-up sensor towers to achieve this. The …


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  1. AnonymousLee

    DHS Workers all watching airport vids

    Talk about putting a spin into a press release...don't believe ANYTHING politicos say, what it really means is:

    "Homeland Security" couldn't get anyone to work the towers because they all want to watch the free porn at the airports.

    And the we'll-protect-you touchy-feely for the doppelgropers.

    Now, too, we know what it really means when they say:

    "It's close enough for government work."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do it properly

    As with all countries there is a legal process for immigration to the U.S. Use it. The U.S. has enough criminals in government without more flooding in from Mexico.

    1. Charles 9

      Good luck. You'll need it.

      If what I read is correct, the legal immigration process is not only lengthy but also very low in success rate (thus why they sometimes call it the "Immigration Lottery). Many of these Mexican/Central American immigrants are too desperate to wait. Many of these people are at "Go For Broke" moments in their lives, so they'll try to cross the border no matter what it takes.

      1. OffBeatMammal

        it's hard enough if you're already here

        as a legal H-1B non-resident alien this is the process ahead of me and my family...

        over 7 years of uncertainty and arbitrary process

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Immigration Reform

      I suppose, Anon, that you support Immigration Reform. That should make the process quicker, easier and would make the current underground crossers go for the legal option instead of legging it across the Nazizona desert.

  3. Hollerith 1

    New boat people?

    If I were a desperate Mexican/Bolivian etc., willing to go to a country that will treat me like sh*t and where I will work as hard as at home for maybe slightly better money, but be at the mercy of all who will have me in their power, then I would get close to the US border, go east or west, and float to the Land of the Brave on a small raft, just outside any range of a tower, and gamble that I could evade the Coast Guard.

    1. MarkA

      @ Hollerith 1

      If I was escaping Bolivia I'd be hoping the USCG would pluck me off my little raft so I could claim political asylum in the United States.

      Oh, and it's the Land of the free and home of the brave. Yeah, I dunno why I pointed that out either.

  4. Is it me?


    Hire lots of South and Central American boarder guards to keep them out, keeps the head count costs low for Homeland Security, and the bribery costs low for the immigrants, see win, win.

    1. kain preacher


      To late . They busted a boarder agent for harboring illegals in his house. One of the illegals was the border agents father. His father has been deported twice.

  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge


    This project was a waste of money from day one as anyone who canoed the Rio Grande can tell you. About ten years ago I spent 6 days on the river in November and saw two other people the entire time - much of the US-Mexico border is desert - how they ever expected this to work it a mystery.

    But on the other hand - just think of the money that Boeing made - $1.1 billion over four years and they only managed to cover 53 miles of the 1900 mile border. Gotta love that industrial military complex!

  6. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Pundits Say...

    ...the big issue in the next election will be the War in Mexico.

    The extra $400 in the price of an ounce of smoke works out to only 10 cents per murdered mexican.

    When beer was illegal gangs kept killing people also.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Bloody shame....

    There isn't one accross 't M1 at Watford.

  8. Michael C

    but its not over

    They're killing the scanning tech, but not the boarder project.

    The camera system was simply too complicated, too expensive, and still needed significant manpower. A much simpler system is a simple array of fences, 3-4 rows deep, combined with heavy, thorny, desert happy brush or other poisonous plants layered in between Make it take both time, and induce pain, to breach the border. Electric fences that bit are impractical, but a few layers of razor-wire with simple sensors to detect tampering is easy. By the time someone could clear through a few levels of fence, we could easily have a Humvee there waiting for them. Better yet, copters and guys with tranquilizer rifles to take out the riff raff and let the Humvees take time getting there. Different tech for different parts of the line are also needed, and were not properly accounted for.

    Streamlining the legal admission process would not hurt either. I honestly have no issue with people coming across, legally registering, and taking up whatever job they can get, provided they get no state or federal assistance until they reach certain milestones (with the path to citizenship being only one). Cross the boarder with money to pay the registration fees, cover some basic expenses, and cover rent or shared living space, and you can come in on probation and we'll put you ina job system (if you;re not in it before you cross the boarder). Maintain a job for 6 months without legal troubles and pay your bills on time, and you can start the citizenship process, and get a 1-2 year pass. Stay on pace, we'll keep renewing that pass. Learn English, pass citizenship, continue to stay out of trouble, and you'll gain benefits soon enough. Your family can come with you from day 1 if you can afford it. But, NO unemployment, No SS, no welfare, no support short of housing and job services. You must be on the books, paying taxes (Though we'll exempt Fica since you gain no benefits) Fall off the wagon and back you go.

    1. Charles 9


      The trouble is that if you make the overland route unsavory, they'll just move underground like they do towards California. One reason for the occasional wall proposal is that a wall can be sunk below ground (like they do in prisons), to discourage tunneling.

      As for immigration itself, there are those of a mind to stop ALL immigration for the immediate future on the grounds that America is simply overcrowded. The supposedly-open door has overloaded the country and the house that freedom built needs to be aired out. Unfortunately, truly desperate people aren't willing to wait for all that to happen. People do not like the idea of being hopeless.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    masses still unwelcome

    Considering the number of illegals is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20-30 million...

    Yeah...they need to do something about that problem. No reasonable country on earth can accomodate that kind of invasion.

    1. asdf

      you must live on the east coast

      Rent a car and drive through Kansas and Nebraska and say that with a straight face. Let them farm the great America west like my family had to do over a century ago. And unless you are Native American your family was more than likely no better than these people and dirt poor and destitude as well so quit being so high and mighty.

  10. JaitcH

    "permits stray cattle, tumbleweeds etc to be ignored" is the answer

    Would be Mexican immigrants should use cattle to cross the border to avoid detection. Emulation a tumbleweed is somewhat challenging.

    The border between the U.S. and Canada has, as part of the Olympics security many years ago, a sensing cable system that discriminates between humans and 4-footed animals crossing the border.

    The northern border has some unique challenges: villages and houses straddle the border in the east (you can actually sleep in the U.S. and eat in Canada. Then there is the Kahnawake reserve at Akwesasne, which crosses the borders of Quebec, Ontario and New York (best known for cigarette and people smuggling) and people and drug smuggling at Niagara.

    People still manage to cross the border without detection ... talk about a waste of money.

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      So you are suggesting the pantomime cow option?

  11. asdf

    Republican welfare

    Instead of giving welfare to the poor, Republicans give to the death merchants (defense contractor my butt, its white collar offensive death dealer) and pray for trickle down (actually don't care just want their buddies to get rich and give them and their family cushy jobs). Sadly Democrats lately have been getting in on the game.

  12. Ben 50

    LOL - Got enough money?

    Take a look at the flowchart linked to by OffBeatMammal.

    Got a million bucks to "invest"/buy your way in... that green card is yours... :-D

  13. Moyra J. Bligh

    Missing the obvious solution

    Unfortunately the Americans have never been smart enough to figure out that the best way to discourage illegal immigration from Mexico, is to make it more attractive for the Mexicans to stay home.

    This would have meant that instead of investing billions on dollars on silly failed schemes like this, they should have helped the Mexican government improve the standard of living for their people. It would have cost less, and been the more effective and charitable solution.

    Unfortunately, with the rampant drug and gang problems in Mexico now, it may be too late......

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