Administration’s plans to construct ‘virtual fence’ moving ahead
WASHINGTON (AP) — The administration’s plan to use technology and physical barriers to keep people from illegally entering the country is back on track this week.
A virtual fence along a 28-mile stretch of Arizona will get the government’s conditional stamp of approval Friday, allowing it to move into the next testing phase.
Earlier this year Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff withheld partial payment to contractor Boeing Co. because the technology the company used in a pilot project near Tucson did not work properly.
Also this week, Chertoff will tell landowners along 225 non-contiguous miles stretching from California to Texas that they have 30 days to give the government permission to access to their properties. The government needs the approval to determine whether it’s even possible to build a fence on their land. If landowners do not agree within 30 days, Homeland Security will issue temporary condemnation orders to gain access.
As of Tuesday, 200 landowners had not given the department permission to access their properties, according to a Homeland Security official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject. Most of the landowners who have not given approval are in Texas and Arizona.