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FINO: Fence funding falls short (again)

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 9, 2008 11:24 PM

The state of our broken borders on the seventh anniversary week of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is unsound.

Border security was not mentioned once in John McCain’s RNC speech. If, as McCain has grudgingly conceded, immigration is a national security issue, why did it get zero attention in his convention talk?

The only insipid comment Obama made about border enforcement in his DNC speech was this: “Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.” Must have taken all the restraint in the world not to repeat his smear of federal ICE agents who follow the law and do their jobs.

Both the shamnesty candidate and the shamnesty-lite candidate would prefer not to talk about this:

The Bush administration needs an extra $400 million to complete its fence along the country’s southwestern border, and government investigators say that may not even be enough to finish construction by the end of this year.

To complete the 670-mile fence — already half built — the administration has asked Congress to approve the use of $400 million set aside for other programs, mostly surveillance technology projects along the U.S.-Mexico border, Jayson Ahern, the deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Higher costs of fuel, steel and labor have led to the $400 million shortfall, Ahern said.

“If we run out of money, unfortunately the construction will have to stop,” Ahern said. He said it is not known exactly how much extra it will cost to build each mile of the fence, because the costs differ due to varying terrain and environmental issues.

There will be hearings tomorrow to discuss what I warned from the outset was the inevitable outcome of this legislation:

Ahern is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday about the fence’s funding shortfalls. At the same hearing, Congress’ investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, will also tell lawmakers that the administration risks not meeting its deadline to complete the fence by the end of the year because of staffing shortages and complications with acquiring the land necessary to build the fence.

A reminder of what I wrote two years ago about the Fence In Name Only — on September 14, 2006:

There’s no funding for the fence, which will take years to build if it ever does get funded. There are so many other immediate reforms that could have been adopted this year that would have strengthened immigration enforcement, closed deportation loopholes immediately, and provided true relief at the border. (And don’t even get me started on this administration’s renewed laxity at the front door, which has been thrown open to tens of thousands of new Saudi student visa holders while enforcement against millions of current visa overstayers remain virtually non-existent.)

The 700-mile fence vote is an election season gesture, and grass-roots conservatives who have watched the GOP squander away this issue afor six years are not going to be appeased by mid-September 2006 gesture politics.

And see my entire archives on “Secure Fence Act” posts for similar repeated warnings.

Even if no one in Washington is paying attention anymore, you can bet the jihadists are.

***

Invasion is six years old, yet so many of its common-sense recommendations about immigration enforcement remain unadopted, abandoned, or languishing on bureaucrat desks.

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