Monday, July 13, 2009

Border Fence Goes Broke

AUSTIN (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry's border Web camera program is out of money after a first year that fell far short of the goals for arrests and reports of illegal crossings.

An internal report showed that just 17 of 200 cameras — one for every 70 miles of the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border — were installed with a $2 million federal grant received last year.

Reports obtained by the El Paso Times indicate that nearly 125,000 people registered as "virtual Texas deputies," but those extra eyes led to just eight drug busts and 11 arrests. The cameras were expected to generate 1,200 arrests.

About 300 illegal immigrants were reported to the U.S. Border Patrol, far short of the 4,500 expected.

Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition chief Don Reay says the goals were unrealistic.

Perry wants another $2 million for the project, and his office revised a report to make it look like the program had come closer to achieving its goals.

Instead of 200 cameras, the new report said the sheriffs coalition was expected to install only 15, making it appear the group exceeded its goal. The target number of arrests was revised to 25, much closer to the 11 actually made.

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