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US Virtual Border Fence Doesn't Work

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the time-to-try-pair-programming dept.

Security 337

lelitsch writes "The Washington Post reports that the initial pilot of the Virtual Border Fence planned by the DHS and subcontracted to Boeing has been a miserable failure. A lot of the points in the report have the hallmark of death-march software development projects. Some choice quotes include 'did not work as planned or meet the needs of the U.S. Border Patrol,' 'DHS officials do not yet know the type of terrain where the fencing is to be constructed,' and 'the design will not be used as the basis for future... development.' The article notes that Boeing was forced to deliver 'something' early as President Bush pushed for immigration reform in Congress in 2006. That reform effort died last year in the Senate."

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forced to deliver early, for political reasons (-1, Troll)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599242)

And the Bush administration once again puts politics above effective governance and management.

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (3, Insightful)

slapout (93640) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599458)

I could be that he was responding to demand from the people.

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (1)

EatHam (597465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600264)

This sounds a lot more like your average software salesperson than it does anything nefarious or political.

"Can this software do X?"
:: picture an animation of a squeaky hamster wheel with an arthritic geriatric hamster running it inside a skull ::
"Absolutely! In fact, it had that in the last version, and this one's even better!"
"We'll take 8!"

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (3, Insightful)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599464)

And this makes the Bush administration different from others how?

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599748)

Is this just an instance of fashionable cynicism, or are you really asking for a laundry list of past administrations that didn't make decisions purely based on politics?

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599506)

Umm, no. Bush's cabinet is nothing more than Reagan era cronies in a last ditch effort to model the world to their image before they take their long dirt nap. This is nothing more than pumping money into US companies to keep them artificially large, and hire more people. It's a make-work program, and the Republicans have been doing that for just as long as the democrats have been. The repubs are just better at hiding it.

Just Business (5, Insightful)

BarC0d3z (825670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599664)

Forcing someone to deliver a proof-of-concept or sample product for an arbitrary date is just common business practice. In this case, if Boeing wanted to continue the contract with the US Government they needed to prove they were up to the challenge. The arbitrary date was set by Bush because of his agenda. Just last week our company had to build a demo sandbox for a potential customer to play around in. We had a restrictive timeline in which to build it because the customer sponsor had a deadline to receive funding. We had to deliver something mostly untested and with deprecated hardware. The only difference is we had done it before so was able to deliver quickly. In my mind it's just finger-pointing if a vendor agrees to a certain date and then can't deliver. Just like our company should be willing to accept the consequences if our potential customer comes back with complaints that the system we gave them is too slow or buggy and "doesn't work."

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599790)

And the Bush administration once again puts politics above effective governance and management.

And a slashdot user once again trots out their favorite villain without actually using their damn head.

So, you're saying that Boeing told DHS that this would not work in its first prototype/deployment? They were under orders to deploy something they knew would not work? Or is it possible that the procurement people said, "We need something that can do X, can you provide that on this timetable?" And the vendor said they could, and that it would work. Is your position that the president looked over their proposal, saw the technical flaws and systems integrations problems with the laptops and software, and said, "no one will notice, do it anyway," or that perhaps it's not the executive branch's leadership job to know when a vendor is lying about the compatibility of the components they're stitching together? Why aren't you complaining about Boeing, for lying about their ability to actually do this, and agreeing to take the contract?

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (-1, Troll)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599828)

Nah. I was trolling. And I got you!

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (2, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600024)

Nah. I was trolling. And I got you!

Ah, but a troll that so closely matches the dimwitted, but frequently tossed-around memes that one sees here, whether a troll or not, requires that rebutal. Otherwise, the rest of the bunch that simply see a rant that dovetails with their world view say, "Yeah, man - tell it like is! The Man..." blah blah. If you're going to troll, you've got to do a much more nuanced job of it. At least invoke the Trilateral Commission, or fake up some money-making scheme that allows Dick Cheney to somehow end up owning the manufacturer of the video cameras that were used. Come on, you can do better than that. This is slashdot. There's no excuse for lame, so-mundane-it-sounds-like-most-of-the-local-demographic trolling. Where's the spice? Where's the theater? Where's the gold plated tinfoil?

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (3, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599990)

I'd say both sides knew it would never work the way it was intended, but it doesn't really matter. They only have less than a year left anyways. This is another project like Reagan's favorite pet project the STAR WARS DEFENSE INITIATIVE. Good thing we spent shitpiles of money on that. I feel safe knowing that we can knock down all those pesky Soviet missiles. And yes, the Bush administration was responding to what the public wanted - not by coming up with an effective solution, but doing the "feel good" solution that sounds great on paper, but never quite works out in reality. I mean, what company is not going to take a billion dollar contract from the government, even if they think it isn't exactly feasible? They will just end up asking for more money in the end.

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600172)

Can we not hold the President of the United States responsible for the executive branch? I suppose you would not blame Bush for Iraq, since he had no way of knowing that his "intel" was completely wrong. And of course he can't take responsibility for the Katrina debacle because FEMA, as far as he knew, was a highly effective organization led by a man experienced in emergency response. In these cases (as well as the border fence) if Bush had done his homework then he would have known better. No more excuses!

Re:forced to deliver early, for political reasons (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600304)

So, what are you saying? That the executive branch's boss should insist that a vendor that agreed to perform a certain task actually follow through and do it? Or that the president should personally understand every technical nuance of tens of thousands of technical contracts and subcontracts right down to the third party OTC tools that are being selected? I don't see any indication here that the White House doesn't care that Boeing dropped the ball, and isn't holding their feet to the fire. Do you? Is that what you're saying?

really need a new tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599250)

read-it-on-the-register-two-days-ago

Re:really need a new tag (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599632)

read-it-on-the-register-two-days-ago

LOL! You read The Register.

And the Europeans think we are evil.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599254)

...while Germany abuses it's turkish guest workers, who pick up their trash, but whose children born in Germany aren't German citizens.

No, we just think you're stupid (5, Informative)

PontifexPrimus (576159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599324)

...and here's why [germany.info] .
Relevant quote:

As of January 1, 2000, children born in Germany to foreign parents acquire German citizenship at birth if at least one parent has lived legally in Germany for a minimum of eight years. Children who acquire German citizenship under this provision will be allowed to hold dual citizenship until they reach adulthood; they will be required to choose between their German and foreign citizenship by the age of 23 at the latest. Children born to foreign parents before the enactment of the new law who are under the age of ten will also be able to claim German citizenship by virtue of birth in Germany, if the above named conditions (time of legal residence) apply.
If you're so woefully underinformed, just keep from commenting, ok?

Re:No, we just think you're stupid (3, Interesting)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600170)

"Lived legally for 8 years" is the key part here.

What Germans are doing is penalizing children born to illegal immigrants.

These kids become criminals from birth, but you Enlightened Europeans probably see no problem with that either (since the kids should have chosen better parents, right?)

Re:And the Europeans think we are evil.... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599552)

England, France, and the Netherlands have the same problem. Fear not, though. With every day that passes, they're being bred out of their own countries, their position of moral superiority slips a little bit further, and they begin to awake to the reality that tolerance of Islam means to tolerate their own demise. We Americans shouldn't gloat, but should instead take note and ensure that we don't follow the same path of allowing our politicians to force us to tolerate the demise of our culture, our history, and our way of life - indeed everything that allowed America to rise to prominence in the first place. I'm truly sad that the London, Paris, and Berlin that I fell in love with as a kid will be reduced to smoldering Muslim ghettos by the time my own kid is old enough to make the trip. This is what happens when you allow unfettered immigration without any attempts whatsoever to assimilate the immigrant population. This is what happens when you allow people to immigrate from countries that have polar opposite views from your own regarding personal freedom, self-determination, respect for women's rights, and respect for human rights in general. The "tolerant" position is that no single way of life is any better than another, and that we shouldn't try to force our way of life on another culture. But the facts of history betray this naive fantasy.

I'll end with an anecdote about my "Palestinian" (if there really is such a nationality) roommate from college, Khalid. One day he made the comment that all alcohol should be outlawed. Ah, I'm constantly surprised how naive and ignorant about history and human nature Muslims are. Had he paid attention in his mandatory American History class, he would have known that the so-called "Progressives" had already tried to foist the massive failure that was Prohibition on us at the beginning of the last century. Nevermind the fact that Muslims can't even stamp out liquor sales and consumption in their own lands. But to come here and presume to tell us that WE should adapt to accommodate THEM with an idea that was already tried and failed? Ideas have consequences, folks. This is just one small example. I didn't even mention the rights of non-believers living in Muslim lands, or female circumcision, or forced marriages, or honor killings. Wake up, people. The barbarians are at the gates, and we're not only being told that we have to leave the gates wide open, but we must silently tolerate our own demise or risk being called *ghasp* racist!

Captcha is "outburst." How appropriate.

Re:And the Europeans think we are evil.... (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599594)

I heard that nowadays in the US, Mexicans being labeled a different 'race' by some news outlets. It seems especially important with respect to elections and stuff. Care to elaborate ?

Re:And the Europeans think we are evil.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599720)

Yes, the word "Mexican" has all but been eliminated from the mainstream media lexicon and replaced with "Latino" or "Hispanic" for a couple of reasons:

1. Not all illegal immigrants are from Mexico (though the overwhelming majority of them are). Some actually manage to make it from Central and South America, past the REAL fence and armed guards who actually shoot at them along Mexico's southern border, all the way north through Mexico, and into our wide-open border.

2. The political class fears that the word "Mexican" might get whitey all fired up and motivated to vote them out of office for selling out the republic so that they could luxuriate at our expense while illegal immigrants mow their lawns and wipe their bratty kids' asses.

I for one welcome (0, Redundant)

T00lman (1020903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599260)

my Mexican alien fence hopping overlords!!!

It's only a virtual failure (5, Funny)

Ranger (1783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599270)

But how will we stop all those virtual Mexicans now?

Stop them.. why would we stop them? (5, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599316)

Someone needs to do all those shitty jobs that your average Second Life citizen thinks they're too good for.

Re:Stop them.. why would we stop them? (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599630)

They wouldn't be such bad jobs if we didn't permit illegal immigration to mess with the labor supply to drive down wages. For whatever reason, a lot of people have it in their minds that hard physical work "just must be" worthless because it doesn't take much training. But if it came down to it, I'm betting they'd much rather do their desk jobs than pick strawberries even for the very same pay.

Re:Stop them.. why would we stop them? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599804)

Picking strawberries wouldn't be such a bad job if non-illegals did it... citizens wouldn't be afraid to speak up about unfair conditions, the lack of health benefits, unsafe conditions, and the lack of a union. The wouldn't be afraid of being deported if they asked for things like water and breaks.

Re:It's only a virtual failure (1, Funny)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599494)

I've always wanted a virtual gardener.

Re:It's only a virtual failure (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599852)

Obviously, no matter what, the virtual Mexicans are simply too determined to be stopped by a mere firewall.

Re:It's only a virtual failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600262)

land mines, snipers and robot assassins.

So now, the feds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599276)

are going to push IDs on all of us. IDs with RFIDs. Well, I am fine with that, as long as they include the star of david and the tatoo. Lets call it for what it is.

They should have known (5, Funny)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599278)

Outsourcing the software development to Mexico was a terrible idea.

Re:They should have known (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599350)

LOL, wetbacks FTL!

I have a simpler solution (5, Funny)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599280)

If we just annexed Mexico we'd only have to build half as much fence to keep the Guatamalans and Hondurans out. Plus, they have margaritas.

You joke, but... (5, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599356)

It amazes me that the Mexican president encourages illegal immigration into this country and calls those of us who want immigration laws to be followed racist or anti-Latino. All the while, they have stringent immigration laws for those coming to Mexico and are trying to build a fence with Guatemala.

The chutzpah is unbelievable.

Re:You joke, but... (5, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599710)

It does not amaze me in the slightest.

Mexicans sending money home - surplus money.

Other Latin Americans illegally entering the country and sending money home - lose money.

This is also not just Mexico, but all over the world. In some places it is actually legal. Poland is exporting workforce to the UK and importing from Belorussia and Ukraine. Romania is exporting workforce to Italy and Spain and is importing from Moldova. And so on. And all of them try to restrict influx while very happily consuming money sent home by gastarbeihters.

Re:You joke, but... (5, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599942)

In a recent conversation with a tour guide/historian while standing in the ancient Roman coluseum in Verona, Italy, this exact topic came up. The structure was built with slave labor at the height of the Roman empire's economic/military juice (it's quite a thing to see, really - but a shame that the outer ring of the thing got clobbered in an earthquake... though that provided lots of nice Extreme Makeover supplies for the local architects working on the town's other buildings). During the summer, they have a regular rotation of opera performances (sans amplification - very quaint, very cool) on stages/sets that have to be loaded in and out and rapidly changed. The work is done in the sweltering heat during the day. It's hugely labor intensive, and almost entirely done by eastern Europeans who are the equivalent of the migrant workers that pick lettuce in California. The guide (herself a native Veronese) said, "Oh, Italians would never do that job - it would kill them!" She also made jokes about how it would scuff their shoes. Mind you, she's a local, so she's allowed.

But she also talked about the utter lack of affordable housing for the workers, the huge crime problem that comes with (and between) them, the large camps of them that live under bridges, etc. But the Romanians (largely) she referred to come and do it, rack up the cash, and them take it or send it home. The main point was that this is as old as time (well, as old as relatively modern civilization, anyway). Sure, the Romans did it at the point of a spear, and the (ironically named) Romanians are doing it out of an interest in clawing their way back from the ravages of life under a typically nasty Socialist regime... but the notion of having "other people" do certain kinds of work is, literally, a classic.

Re:You joke, but... (5, Insightful)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599960)

You beat me too it.

From the all knowing wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Remittances, or contributions sent by Mexicans living abroad, mostly in the United States, to their families at home in Mexico, are a substantial and growing part of the Mexican economy; they comprised $18 billion in 2005.[52] In 2004, they became the second largest source of foreign income after crude oil exports, roughly equivalent to foreign direct investment (FDI) and larger than tourism expenditures; and represented 2.5 percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product.[53] The growth of remittances has been remarkable: they have more than doubled since 1997. Recorded remittance transactions exceeded 41 million in 2003, of which 86 percent were made by electronic transfer.[40]


[ tinfoil ]
Why, it's almost as if illegal immigration from Mexico is overlooked by the US Government as a method of foreign aid to Mexico. US corporations get cheap disposable labor ( if the workers complain they get deported ), Mexico gets an infusion of cash to prop up their government.
[ /tinfoil ]

Re:You joke, but... (3, Interesting)

es330td (964170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599988)

The chutzpah is unbelievable.

I'd be more inclined to say "admirable." Given that it is estimated that more than 10% of Mexico's GDP comes from money sent back home from the US he's doing everything he can to improve his economy. Just think about his situation: he gets to govern a country with an income that goes up when people leave the country. People who are out of the country don't consume servives or materials and don't commit crimes. He should be doing everything he can to keep people coming across Mexico's southern border.

Well, it worked for us (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600006)

The south west was taken from Mexico. How did we do it? Not by the alamo and defeating Sanata Ana, but by moving large amounts of Americans into the area. The interesting thing is that many Mexicans fought against that because they felt that once the Americans outnumbered the mexicans, that they would annex it back into America. And we did.

I am doubtful that the reverse will happen here, but the main reason why they come here is simple; MONEY. W's building a fence is a total joke. Whether physical or virtual, it will never succeed. The ONLY way to stop this is to remove the low end jobs from American AND/OR create jobs in Mexico. Considering that Mexico allows the peso to trade free against both Canadian and American dollars, it is in our best interest to allow jobs to flow to Mexico, and put the cabash on jobs going to China. In addition, we need to automate our agriculture AND construction jobs that we have here. Once we do that, the fence will be immaterial. Interestingly, once the tide nearly stops, then a virtual fence really does make sense.

Why bother? (3, Funny)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599372)

They are slowly annexing us by moving here.

Re:I have a simpler solution (1)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600102)

If we just annexed Mexico we'd only have to build half as much fence to keep the Guatamalans and Hondurans out. Plus, they have margaritas.
I thought that the USA did [wikipedia.org] annex Mexico. Well, most of it.

It's hopeless anyway (5, Funny)

z80kid (711852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599290)

No mere border fence is any match for

The Six Million Peso Man [youtube.com]

Stupid. (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599330)

When the hell has building a giant wall ever helped anything? Jesus...At least they could have outsourced the work to China...Their wall didn't work, but at least it got finished.

But, I suppose anything is better than coming up with a sensible immigration policy. Gotta keep those high-paying fruit picking, chicken boning, and christmas tree cutting jobs local.

Re:Stupid. (5, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599394)

One reason all those crap jobs have such lousy wages is that employers know they can always hire illegals, who are in no position to complain about wages or working conditions. I'd rather pay more and see an American citizen get the job.

Re:Stupid. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599482)

I'd rather pay more and see an American citizen get the job.

No, you wouldn't.
Ideology is easy when it doesn't hurt you (or, in this case, your pocket).

Re:Stupid. (1)

cobaltnova (1188515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599676)

Please mod parent up. Although an AC, parent raises a valid point. Moreover s/he is neither troll nor flamebait nor overrated.

Re:Stupid. (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599636)

Actually, the reason is that you put someone through 12 years of school, and he doesn't want to work in a chicken processing plant anymore.

Like it or not, we don't have the workforce to fill out those sorts of jobs anymore, and frankly it doesn't make any economic sense to force a decently educated worker into a job that could be filled for much less cost by someone who has no education at all. If nothing else, there is a huge opportunity cost for our economy when you force a worker that is capable of working some kind of high automation line job, into the kind of crap work that was common 100 years ago...It makes far more sense to send the work to another country in that case.

It always annoys me when people like you think that, if only we paid the fruit pickers more and threw out all the migrant workers, then our economy would somehow boom. The only thing that would boom is the cost of the fruit, and that makes everyone who buys it poorer, it makes fruit from other countries more competitive in the marketplace, and that drives domestic fruit producers out of business. What a great plan.

Re:Stupid. (4, Interesting)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599886)

It always annoys me when people like you think that, if only we paid the fruit pickers more and threw out all the migrant workers, then our economy would somehow boom. The only thing that would boom is the cost of the fruit, and that makes everyone who buys it poorer, it makes fruit from other countries more competitive in the marketplace, and that drives domestic fruit producers out of business. What a great plan.


Ahh... so the best option for everyone is to ensure illegal aliens arrive en mass. If they complain about low wages, hazardous working conditions or exploitive management ( see: Company Store [wikipedia.org] ) then we deport them.

Right. Nice way to maintain a permanent underclass.

After all, it's not like if we required proof of citizenship and forced the agricultural industry to pay decent wages those workers would spend any money here in the US, right?

Or if we permitted those workers to come to the US on visas and bring their families with them the practice of sending remittances to their home country might dry up or significantly decrease thus keeping more money in the US?

Re:Stupid. (3, Insightful)

Grandiloquence (1180099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600126)

Ahh... so the best option for everyone is to ensure illegal aliens arrive en mass. If they complain about low wages, hazardous working conditions or exploitive management ( see: Company Store [wikipedia.org] ) then we deport them. Right. Nice way to maintain a permanent underclass. After all, it's not like if we required proof of citizenship and forced the agricultural industry to pay decent wages those workers would spend any money here in the US, right? Or if we permitted those workers to come to the US on visas and bring their families with them the practice of sending remittances to their home country might dry up or significantly decrease thus keeping more money in the US?

A permanent underclass? Hardly. It's not like we're rounding these people up and bringing them to the US against their will. They come here voluntarily, and often at great risk to themselves. Why would they do that if they were being exploited? To put it simply, they come here in droves because life as a fruit picker or whatnot is better than what they were doing before. We are increasing their quality of life, not decreasing it.

Immigration is a win-win situation. We benefit from low-priced labor, freeing our better educated workforce to hold better paying, more productive jobs, and the immigrants get jobs better than the ones they left behind, allowing them a better chance to escape from the poverty of their homeland.

Re:Stupid. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600152)

The amount of money they send home is trivial compared to the amount of money we send to China to buy crap that could never be made here because if it was, it would cost ten times as much. The reason it costs so much is because that sort of labor is hugely scarce over here, and thus extremely expensive. But try and bring in more labor and you're "destroying american jobs". So we build giant walls, and, in the meantime, all our manufacturing relocates to places with cheap labor.

The reason illegal immigrants are treated so poorly is because people like you have made it a crime to allow people to come here and work. If we stopped paying so much money trying to beat supply and demand, and started spending money making sure the workers were well treated, then they wouldn't be an "exploited workforce" they'd just be a cheap and efficient workforce.

First generation immigrants often do tend to be an underclass. They often come in with little education, and few skills. Second generation immigrants have the benefits of our system, and the opportunity to go to school, perhaps college. There is no such thing as a third generation immigrant. Most people in this country are third and fourth generation immigrants. That's why people want to come here. People like you don't want to have to compete with people who are willing to work for less, willing to sacrifice to make things better for their children. Me? I don't care. I don't feel like anyone owes me a living, just because I was born here.

Re:Stupid. (2, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600104)


Actually, the reason is that you put someone through 12 years of school, and he doesn't want to work in a chicken processing plant anymore.

Nonsense. People don't want to do those jobs at the wages offered, and the work conditions present.

it doesn't make any economic sense to force a decently educated worker into a job that could be filled for much less cost by someone who has no education at all.

More pure nonsense. Are you trying to tell me the education system is that much different than it was 30 years ago? I'll be willing to bet those plants were filled with US citizens then. What's changed now other than a large influx of cheap labor from Mexico?

There's plenty of jobs that people with high school education do already that don't require much in the way of education. Auto plant workers make good wages. Do they need a higher level of education than other plant workers, or is it just the fact that they were unionized many years ago and the conditions and wages improved?

No, I'm not saying unions solve all problems. But treating the workplace as static, and unchanging with the available labor pool is just plain incorrect.

Re:Stupid. (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600108)

How do you force someone into a job??

Re:Stupid. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599838)

The same applies to organic produce; many people would pay more for it. Is the solution to make regular produce illegal? Of course not. If you like American workers so much, only give your business to companies that hire Americans. No need to waste money on fences.

Re:Stupid. (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599416)

you're right. the one in China was 100% ineffective and did not do anything.

Damn Chinese they kept building it for decades upon decades all in a feeble attempt. Everyone knows that the Great Wall of china was a complete failure.

sarcasm aside it CAN work and BE effective if it was not half-assed. Therein lies the problem. The idiots in Washington get all puffy and hem and haw all over the issue while in reality they secretly don't care and want to allow the illegal immigrants in the country. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that every single one of those congress critters has an illegal wither cleaning their house, pool or keeping up the yard. They dont want to stop the flow of very cheap labor coming into the US.

Re:Stupid. (3, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599772)

It actually didn't work all that well. Certainly didn't keep invaders from invading. It would have been far more effective (and cheaper) to just have a better military.

How much money are you willing to sink into putting a goddamn WALL around the country? I frankly don't think it will ever work, and sure if we put as much money into it as we put into Iraq, I bet we could stop the immigration across the land, but I don't think that would be sufficient in the long run. If people want in, they'll get in.

It never ceases to make me laugh how hard people fight to keep immigrants from doing jobs that they would never do, not in a million years. If you're worried about their treatment, then make it legal, give them the right to sue over poor conditions and workplace injuries. Tax their salaries to help pay for the demographic hellhole that will be this country for the next 30 or so years...Worried about your job? In 10 years, as the boomers retire en masse the workforce is literally going to shrink. That means we will need those people; we will need their labor, and we will need the tax revenue to pay for services for the huge chunk of society that's going to be retired.

Re:Stupid. (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600384)

It never ceases to make me laugh how hard people fight to keep immigrants from doing jobs that they would never do, not in a million years. If you're worried about their treatment, then make it legal, give them the right to sue over poor conditions and workplace injuries.


But if I did that, who would I ever get to mow my lawn?

I sure don't want to have to do it!

Re:Stupid. (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599682)

When the hell has building a giant wall ever helped anything?

Indeed.

A better idea would have been to arm Lou Dobbs with automatic weapons.

Improper use of link text (-1, Flamebait)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599358)

There's only one link that can be legitimately used with the phrase miserable failure [whitehouse.gov] .

Re:Improper use of link text (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599746)

And only one site legitimately used for http://www.fascism.com/ [fascism.com]

As the previous architect of... (5, Interesting)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599402)

...a wide area surveillance group, I would like to suggest a few reasons why this occurred, especially given what we know of Boeing's attempt to provide a solution.

Wide Area Surveillance is, like any real world 'enterprise' solution, complex. That is not to say it is not achievable, it is just not something you decide to do on a whim ;). There's a vast amount of 'learning through pain' which (of course) teaches you how to avoid stumbling blocks in the future. WAS is a fusion of architectural planning, mechanical engineering, network engineering, environmental engineering, and software engineering. It is also one of the more difficult management projects due to the fact that very few companies (almost none) have the in-house departments/divisions to handle all aspects of it; ergo, most companies do the more natural 'I am the lead contractor, you all can sub-contract to me for utilities, HVAC, network topology, integration software, camera systems, electromagnetic fences', et cetera.

This means that during the bidding process for these jobs, as with any $$$LARGE$$$ government contract, much of the sub-contracting can be political and very rarely results in a proffered solution that is 'best in breed' in all (or even most) areas.

This is all very normal. The real difficulty is in identifying which aspects of a WAS solution will kill your project. For example, the article claims that using off the shelf commercial software for dispatchers was a serious issue. I can tell you from experience, there's no way that this derailed the project. There are several companies (the one I used to work at is one for example) that specialize in integrating their 'command & control' (for lack of a more encompassing term) suites with 3rd party streaming video, network systems, hardware devices, et cetera. The relative cost of these systems varies from very low (with a fair amount of services work being entailed) to moderate (where you get far more C&C stuff than you plan to use but it's there if you need it in the future - but they fully integrate the things you do need off the bat.)

Usually the biggest problems are from poor planning at the start or 'mid course correction' by people who didn't make careful consideration of their options up front regarding the physical infrastructure required. A good example of this is 'pole placement.' One of the easiest, conceptually, methods of watching swathe of territory where there isn't supposed to be much activity is to use a high quality camera mounted (usually mounted on a Pan/Tilt/Zoom gimbal) on a tall pole. How tall? THAT is the question my friends. From a cost point of view you want to put them up as high as is feasible given the terrain and what the local survey should be. This means less poles, less cameras, and less overall costs to cover a wider area; HOWEVER, the higher you put that camera the more difficult the installation of the pole because I assure you that putting a camera 60 feet off the ground results in shaking, deflection, twisting, and all kinds of other frame stabilization nightmares. Usually what happens is that the project denotes the max camera heights, assigns what types of poles/towers will support the cameras, how they will be built in order to overcome problems like these and then 6 months later they change the camera heights (usually because they want to cut out a few poles and the neighboring cameras must take up the slack), bingo you're well thought out and budgeted pole no longer serves your needs.

It is at this point that the reader will think 'ok, then we need to redesign the poles right? No big deal...' Sadly this does not usually happen. The change request costs associated outweight the money saved on the pole changes but that doesn't mean they won't still use the wrong poles and save a hundred thousand on camera costs, they'll just try to hack some solution like putting a frame stabilizer black box on the back of the camera, because that should work, right? ;)

Anyhow. That's just one little part of the likely problems they've encountered, there are literally a hundred more likely problems that stem from the fact that Boeing (though an intelligent company who make some amazing things) is not an expert in wide area surveillance and apart from a division at Lockheed Martin who're very smart but not very experienced, no one in the US is since a few foreign companies purchased smaller companies in the US which were expert at these things. ;)

They'll likely do much better the second time as they realize what things you really do need to pin the customer down to, what things to pin your subcontractors down on, and what things you'll need to have in-house yourself (as a company as large and prestigious as Boeing.)

Oh Vey (0, Redundant)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599406)

How do large companies get away with selling then delivering crap? I always have to make my stuff work before I get paid.

Re:Oh Vey (3, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599478)

Because that's what the government ordered. You may know that it's a piece of crap that will never work properly, but any decisions on modifications, redesign or cancellation are made by the customer. The customer gets what he wants, even if he is an idiot.

Re:Oh Vey (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599744)

How do large companies get away with selling then delivering crap? I always have to make my stuff work before I get paid.
Pareto Optimality. It's what corporations live for. They have stats that prove around 80% of their customers are happy. Never mind that no-one in the company cares about the other 20%, nor is making any effort to increase quality into that margin. No-one in a corporation is trying to be perfect, they are all trying to be good enough to meet the 80% service level target. If you are a perfectionist in a corporation you'll be a very unhappy person.

Hence, anything from a corporation is only 80% worthwhile. This virtual wall probably does stop 80% of Mexicans. It is thus probably sold as a success to Boeing Shareholders. The fact that is obviously pointless, ineffective, and a ridiculous waste of money is irrelevant.

Re:Oh Vey (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600140)

While all very good points, how does they relate to Pareto efficiency? I thought a Pareto improvement was when you could reallocate things so at least one person was better off without anyone else being worse off. And Pareto optimality is when you can't make any more Pareto improvements. Maybe you're saying companies continue to make their customers better off only until that would mean they make themselves worse off?

The Fence (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599408)

The fence is nothing more than our govt saying hey look we are doing something. I would
much rather see all this money spent on something that "will" work like enforcement. If
you heavily fine, jail, imprison anyone employing and or providing services such as housing
etc to a illegal the problem will correct itself. In my opinion these employers, landlords
etc are harboring fugitives and should be punished just as any other criminal guilty of
the same thing.

Pump all this money into employment enforcement including bounties on information leading to arrest
of employers and or fugitives.

no fence needed ... (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599422)

... when machine-guns are available.

This is why I always laugh at NASA promises (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599448)

The U.S. government is such a laughable morass of bureaucracy, exploitative contractors, incompetence, and outright ignorance that any huge project with big promises has to be viewed with suspicion (if not outright laughter). Anyone remember the FBI database overhaul [guardian.co.uk] debacle?

NASA, the FBI, etc. all seem to follow the same pattern. They get the idea in their head for something big (usually as the result of politicians putting it there or the need to make it look like they're doing something about some big problem). Then they contract the technical stuff out to some contractor who feeds them a line of bullshit (instead of hiring their own people to do it, the way NASA did it in the 60's). Then they hold a big press conference, in which they make grandiose promises about how great this new thing will be (the best ones are accompanied by CGI animation of said great thing). Then they give some contractor a shitload of money. Then the contractor ends up in delays and overruns, forcing government agency to give them even MORE money. Then the contractor either doesn't deliver anything usable at all, delivers a shoddy piece of shit that doesn't even come close to the original promise, or simply delays it until the administration changes or the project gets canceled. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

Re:This is why I always laugh at NASA promises (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599696)

Everything you said is true not only of the govt but private enterprise as well. A great percentage of large-scale IT projects, in particular, fail.

Re:This is why I always laugh at NASA promises (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600374)

Yep, there is a reason for all these Dilbert cartoons.

In Soviet Russia ... (1)

rbg (824804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599516)

the fence jumps you

Walmart (5, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599528)

Just build the Great Walmart of America. One side is the employee entrance, the other side for customer.

what do you expect for virtual (0, Redundant)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599534)

a virtual fence would only keep out virtual illegal border crossers...

-welcome to the real world-

Lean from China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599542)

Let them come over, employ them to build a great wall, then push them back the other side.

Re:Lean from China (1)

tcoder70 (1051640) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599900)

No need to push!!!
Just project manage them over...

"Ok people, last item on the checklist...paint the south side!"

DHS vs basic math (4, Informative)

unchiujar (1030510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599550)

some relevant quotes
"Boeing has already been paid $20.6 million for the pilot project, and in December, the DHS gave the firm another $65 million to replace the software with military-style, battle management software. "
"Boeing has said that the initial effort, while flawed, still has helped Homeland Security apprehend 2,000 illegal immigrants since September"
A quick division $85 600 000 / 2 000 gives $42 800 per illegal immigrant. And this is the cost to the taxpayer without personnel salaries and other expenses, just what was payed to Boeing. I strongly doubt that each illegal immigrant, if not apprehended, will cost the US tax payers $42 800.

Re:DHS vs basic math (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599950)

Quite the reverse. Cheap labor drives down the cost of domestically produced goods, which increases their appeal to consumers (both foreign and domestic), and the cheap labor, while they may send a portion of their income home to their country of origin, spends a goodly chunk of that income here, on goods and services.

Immigrant labor has, historically, always been a boon to the economy. The only real issue here, is how poorly they're treated, and that has nothing to do with building walls.

Re:DHS vs basic math (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600028)

It would be cheaper to give each illegal $42,799 to stay in Mexico, nyet?

Boondoggle! (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599566)

The word might have been invented to describe this project!

Development Issues (5, Informative)

Gallenod (84385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599572)

I work for DHS and a friend of mine runs a small program that's been managing sensors on the border for 25 years.

Boeing was hired as the project's integrator and instead of subcontracting or working with the existing systems tried to do everything themselves. Why? To keep as much money for themselves, of course. They ignored, at first, all the existing systems and tried to replace them with proprietary technology that would anchor them into govermnent contracts in perpetuity.

They failed. Now they have to rely on refined data from a government-developed system to produce any results at all. This is a pattern I've seen in 26 years of working for the government: we hire an outside vendor who comes in and has to rely on our knowledge to make anything work. In a lot of cases they get us to do much of their work for them. The vendor's employees get huge bonuses and we get downsized. Granted there are times where if you don't bring in someone from the outside nothing will change, but the number of times internal staff saves the vendor's ass has been, in my experience, much higher than the other way around.

Sometimes it's better to spend your money on what your own staff can do instead of just assuming that an outside vendor will automatically develop something better. For some reason, too many executives undervalue the abilities of their own people and hire big names like Boeing for many times what it would have cost to develop better systems in house. The Secure Border Initiative is apparently one of them.

Re:Development Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600008)

from mgmt point of view is not good idea to assign project in house. if project fails or have problem mgmt will be blamed.
with external contract blame can be transfered to them, and local mgmt is clear to live on :)

Re:Development Issues (3, Insightful)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600340)

You don't seem to understand. If you're a manager working for DHS, what future do you have?

If you do it yourself, you'll just be a manager of a larger group with more work, but no more pay.

If you hire Boeing, at least you know you'll be able to quite DHS in a few years and get a nice cooshy job as VP of Product Oversight for $1.5/mil a year for life, because of your aid in getting them the $4 billion contract.

I'M SHOCKED!! (2, Insightful)

Electric Eye (5518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599612)

You mean something forced through in a short period of time using Homeland Security money failed?? I've never heard of such a thing. This never happens. The HS Dept is flawless in all of its executions and, as far as I know, has never wasted so much as a few dollars on something bogus. Just look at all the nice trailers they bought for those poor people in New Orleans! What about the millions of dollars of anti-terrorism "kits" and emergency response stuff sent to Wyoming? I just refuse to accept this article as truth!

Good, Fast, Cheap... Pick Two (2, Insightful)

AskFirefly (757114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599616)

If you don't choose wisely, it comes back to bite you....

It was never meant to work (5, Interesting)

Badbone (1159483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599622)

It was set up to fail from the very beginning. Its no secret that every power in the American government wants more illegals. The republicans want more cheap labor. The democrats want more poor voters. This fence was never more than distraction. Just a way for government to pretend they are doing something, while actually doing nothing.

Re:It was never meant to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600178)

Illegals can't vote and there's zero evidence they are voting. However, I agree with you that the majority of both parties want illegals here and don't want to make them legal, in spite of the rhetoric.

Re:It was never meant to work (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600194)

This is by far the most sensible comment on this thread (though it had some close competitors, to be fair).

It's no secret that every major decision maker knows that we need the cheap labor, unless we're all suddenly willing one day to pay $300 for that head of lettuce. (IIRC only Mike Huckabee was brutally frank about it, and that was not a message his target audience wanted.) What's more, these same people, and various media types like Mr. Dobbs, know full well that illegals = ratings.

Remember the big backlash against illegals in 1994 (the one that got Prop 187 passed in California)? The end result of that tidal wave of outrage was.. nothing. We're seeing something simliar today: Joe Sixpack is venting, blaming Latino "job-theives" because of circumstances beyond his (or anyone else's) control. And there are vested interests in this country that don't want him to pay attention to the real root causes. It's a lot easier to Latino-bait than to urge Mr. Sixpack to get off his dead ass and get re-trained.

Look, the whole issue won't go away, even if such a fence somehow worked. The only way IMO to get rid of illegals would be to wipe out all minimum wage laws in this country. Joe Sixpack can then keep his job.. though his benefits would evaporate overnight and his take-home pay would sink and condemn his family to third-world wage levels for generations. (But hey, jobs for Americans, right?)

We're willing in the end to put with the situation for cheap labor. The free market has spoken. And when it speaks, it doesn't care if you appreciate what it says or not.

Simple solution (2, Funny)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599666)

Let American 'sportsmen' hunt the illegals, a starlight scope and a bounty
on illegals. The problem would disappear overnight.

Illegal Male 100 bucks
Illegal pregnant Female 300 bucks
Illegal child 400 bucks (smaller target)

I'd wager border incursions would fall off within two weeks of the practise
starting. Plus the 'sportsmen' would become better shots. A win-win situation.
Yeah, I do have too much time on my hands. My Grandparents stood in line to
get in legally. Why cannot others do the same? They are CRIMINALS, that is why.

this is probably the most disappointing thing ever (1, Troll)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599680)

First thing that came to mind when I read the headline was, they ran a simulation. Every time they ran it, the mexicans broke through the virtual fence like some an angry horde of mongols a la south park. This really is disappointing to me. I'm going to seriously consider whether I want to board an aircraft made by the company who couldn't engineer a fence within hours. It's a fence. I can engineer a fence that will stop mexicans. My mom could engineer a fence that will stop mexicans. The issue isn't really a fence though. Since we saw that Anderson Cooper special where he went into a tunnel built by drug mules, we know a fence won't stop them entirely.

The problem isn't immigration, it's corruption (3, Insightful)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599876)

The reason Mexicans come to the US in droves is because their country is broken. Most of the police and half the military are on the take. Even the honest folks have decided to steer clear of the disaster.

Nothing America erects on that border is going to change the fact that Mexicans can make a decent and safe living in Mexico.

Re:The problem isn't immigration, it's corruption (1)

NeoZer0 (1201119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599992)

Oh great another country we have to spend our Tax dollars to fix. We already send enough relief aid to Mexico. Cut them off!

Re:The problem isn't immigration, it's corruption (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600196)

I'm not saying we have to spend out tax dollars fixing Mexico. The history of previous American efforts to intervene in Mexico haven't exactly been positive.

I'm just identifying the problem. No one much discusses the issue of why Mexicans are leaving their country in the first place.

Note to Congress - Build a REAL WALL!!!! (1)

NeoZer0 (1201119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599932)

Why don't they just build a real wall? I know its old school but damn, at least we could see REAL progress.

The Cameras and Sensors Do Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599956)

I had the opportunity to see the cameras in action and work within a mile or two of the boarder for a year. The command center with the cameras was manned by 3-4 people(national guard) while the BP agents were in the field. On a couple occasions we would be in the middle of the desert heading towards the border and not have a single vehicle, house or person visible to us except the camera towers, but within 2-3 minutes, there would be a BP agent in a truck flying down a dirt road towards us. Talking to the BP agents there, they said just putting the towers up without the cameras even working, greatly reduced the amount of drug dealers and illegals trying to cross.

What I thought was really neat was that they said the best time to cross isn't at night, but rather during the day because a person's heat signature stands out so well at night on camera. We gave a presentation to some agents for the night shift and had the chance to see this in action again and you could easily pick up rabbits, coyotes and illegals.

I was quite impressed and almost felt bad for those people trying to cross. Some had no idea they were spotted and the BP just watched them until they were close to a road before sending an agent to pick them up. I haven't even talked about the magnetic and seismic sensors that pick up vehicles and people in places that are not covered by camera.

No fence is needed (1, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599980)

Only the middle class and poor want to keep illegal aliens out. The rich want the cheap labor. So they make mouth noises like they're upset over illegal immigration while hiring illegal immigrants themselves, because they're cheap.

Catch an illegal and send him back, and that's all. If they really wanted to make the illegal aliens stay away, all they'd have to do would be to make illegal entry in this country a felony with a mandatory five year prison sentense for a first offense, fifteen years for a second offense and thirty for a third offense.

Don't hold your breath. The people who run things want to import cheap labor and they're not about to let anyone stop their gravy train.

Re:No fence is needed (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600284)

Catch an illegal and send him back, and that's all. If they really wanted to make the illegal aliens stay away, all they'd have to do would be to make illegal entry in this country a felony with a mandatory five year prison sentense for a first offense, fifteen years for a second offense and thirty for a third offense.


Let me see if I understand this. I'm in some country starving to death, and your answer to keep me out is to threaten to throw me in a prison where I get 3 squares a day and a bed to sleep on, much less clean water, showers and such.

I'm so there! Thank you! Thank you! And maybe we can use the immigrants to hire the millions of prisons we're going to need to house them all.

How about we place the penalty on the person doing the hiring?

Newsflash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600048)

Everything the government touches turns to shit

Forgetting history == doomed to repeat it (1)

primebase (9535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600082)

It's called the Maginot Line http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maginot_line [wikipedia.org] folks! That was brilliantly engineered (unlike this) yet incomplete (LIKE this), and it still didn't work. Another few hundred million of our hard-earned tax $ that could have gone towards schools, roads or a really good party pissed away. Is it 2009 yet?

More Google Bomb Damage (1)

Dimitrii (958525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600156)

a miserable failure [washingtonpost.com]
If Google hadn't fixed it, this would have damaged the Google bomb. Think about the consequences of your actions.

H1B (1)

gonzalo_diaz (1248534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600184)

Instead of picking on those poor Mexicans, this forum should be concerned about the LEGAL immigration scam that is the H1B program. "Indentured worker", the new slavery. Shame in the USA.
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