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Border follies: U.S. sorry for building barrier that encroaches on Mexico

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 26, 2007 01:38 AM

Can we do anything right on border security? Crikey (via chron.com/AP):

Vehicle barrier built on wrong side of border to be removed

Part of a vehicle barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border was erected in the wrong country and soon will be removed and rebuilt on American soil, federal officials confirmed Monday.

“We respect our international boundary, and we want to be good neighbors,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel told The Associated Press. “…We want to move quickly to ensure that we place the vehicle barrier where it should be, which is north of the border.”

The barrier, 17 miles west of Columbus, was built in 2000 by Joint Task Force North out of Fort Bliss, Texas. It encroaches into Mexico territory between one and six feet south of the border along a 1.5-mile stretch.

The U.S. government did not intentionally erect the 5-foot-tall barrier in Mexico, Friel said. But an aerial survey conducted in March revealed that parts of the structure crossed over the border.

“The construction was based on what was understood to be the international boundary at the time,” he said.

The International Boundary and Water Commission, which determines the official boundary between the U.S. and Mexico, said the barrier had raised concern with Mexican officials.

“Mexico had indicated that it is not appropriate for this type of United States structure to be located in Mexican territory, and we agree,” said Sally Spener, a spokeswoman for the commission.

On Monday, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said it has sent a diplomatic note to the United States protesting the barrier.

The Mexican government’s condoning of massive law-breaking on American soil isn’t “appropriate,” either. But you won’t hear any demands, or see any “diplomatic notes” sent, from our officials about that.

A senator on the shamnesty fence weighs in:

U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., questioned how the error occurred and demanded that the U.S. government replace the barrier before the existing one is torn down.

“Having to tear down the newly constructed barrier is not only a waste of taxpayer money but also hampers our ability to adequately secure our borders,” he wrote in a letter to Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Ralph Basham on Friday.

Perhaps Bingaman should make the reconstruction and replacement of that barrier his trigger before agreeing to any Bush-Kennedy guest worker plan: Border security now. Not later.

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