Thursday, December 01, 2016

More Southwest border fencing needed, but it is not sole answer, chief says

More fencing is needed along the Southwest border to keep migrants from crossing illegally, but neither fences nor walls alone will solve the problem, the new border patrol chief told a Senate panel Wednesday. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan, who has been on the job about four months, was not asked directly about President-elect Donald Trump's plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and make the Mexican government pay for it. But Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked Morgan whether he believes that fencing works. "Do we need more fencing? Yes," Morgan responded. "Does it work? Yes. Do we need it everywhere? No. Is it the sole answer? No. It's part of an overall, multi-layered strategy." Johnson asked Morgan to work with the committee to install more fencing where it is needed along the nearly 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico, but the senator said he's not talking about erecting fencing along the entire length. Instead, he said better fencing is needed in some places. The U.S. government has already built fencing along about 700 miles of the border. "Fencing works," Johnson said. "A better wall works." Morgan said, "I agree." He cited the effectiveness of fencing in the Border Patrol's San Diego, Calif., sector at stemming the flow of immigrants crossing the border illegally. He said Border Patrol officials were able to move 100 agents to more troublesome spots because they were no longer needed in the San Diego area. However, Morgan said fencing must be combined with more high-tech strategies, including sensors and drones that alert agents when people are crossing the border illegally. He also said the Border Patrol needs more horses and dogs and needs to share intelligence more closely with other U.S. and international law enforcement agencies to keep migrants from reaching the border. "If they've made it to the border, we've ... essentially already lost," he said...more

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