To that first point, Carlos Espinosa, a spokesman for Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., had a quick response. "There's probably no one" in the House of Representatives "who's going to say we shouldn't fund extra facilities to protect the country from another (terrorist) attack." The cost to the American economy if there is a terrorist attack would be many times greater than the cost of training thousands of new agents.
And as Bonner points out, the new technology is good, but it can't help much if there is no one around to detain those little dots on the screens.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Kristi Clemens just returned from a trip to El Paso, where she saw the new technology -- part of America's Shield Initiative -- at work. The new scanning technology spotted 14 people near the border, agents were deployed, and 14 uninvited guests were apprehended. With the new officers and new equipment -- and a bigger budget -- Border Patrol agents will be able to monitor "constant intelligence" and deploy agents where they are needed, she said.
Clemens noted that the Border Patrol detained 1.1 million illegal immigrants last year. That's good, but there is no way to know for sure how many illegal crossers made it into this country.
And while most were looking for jobs -- not targets -- they found those jobs at a high cost to state and local governments, which have been forced to absorb costs for emergency medical care and incarceration because the federal government doesn't pay for its failures.
And if a terrorist does slip through a porous border, Americans could pay with their very lives.
Cox compared the overall border situation today with a fence along the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego -- he called it "a $14 million fence with a 3-mile hole." The House recently voted to fill the hole in the fence. Now, it should make sure that Washington fills the hole in the Border Patrol.