Monday, August 17, 2009

Some concerned about negative impact of border fence

KVOA - Tucson
August 10, 2009

It's been almost three years since the government announced plans to build a fence along the southern border. Since then a big portion of it has been built.

But some claim it's not solving all the problems, instead it's creating problems.

Bill Odle lives right by the border in Cochise County. He sees the impact of illegal immigrants every day. He also sees the impact of the recently built border fence.

"Washed all the material against the fence, you can see how deep it is," Odle says.

He's watched as crews cut a hole in the fence to get equipment in to move the debris.

"This is supposed to stop people, vehicles what have you and it's obvious people can just walk through here," Odle says.

He and others are concerned about the environmental impact of the fence.

The Sierra Club recently sent the Department of Homeland Security a letter, 43 members of Congress signed it.

"We're asking that monitoring and mitigation happen on a border wide scale. We need a fund that looks at problems we're having in places like this and uses science to address these problems," says Dan Mills with the Sierra Club.

Bill Davis with the Cochise County militia, a border watch group, acknowledges the problems with the fence, but says it is making an impact.

"The old joke was there would be a lot of 16 foot ladders, but it's still slowing them down. If they're one at a time climbing a ladder instead of 40 running across," he says.

Indeed some smugglers have found creative ways to avoid the fence including trucks with ramps built on them, ultra-light airplanes, and likely ladders, but those leave little evidence and are tougher to catch in the act.

In response, the Department of Homeland Security issued this statement: "Secretary Napolitano will respond to the members of Congress in regards to their letter. The Department does not respond to correspondence through the media."

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