Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
By Robin Emmott
Securing the United States’s border from illegal immigrants, terrorists and weapons of mass destruction “continues to be a major challenge,” says the United States Government Accountability Office in a new report. It is also proving to be expensive in both lives and money.
In dollar terms, the outlay is substantial. Every time someone breaks a hole in the U.S.-Mexico border wall, it costs about $1,300 to repair. The estimated cost of maintaining the 661-mile (1,058 km) double-layered fence along part of its 2,000-mile (3,000 km) border with Mexico over the next 20 years is $6.5 billion, the GAO report says.
That is on top of the $3.7 billion allocated to the Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Border Initiative since 2005 to build a system of fencing, lighting, sensors, cameras and radars to keep out job-hungry immigrants, terrorists and smugglers.
While border agents say the wall is a tool that helps them protect the United States, the GAO report found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection cannot accurately determine the fence’s impact on improving border security, suggesting the money might not be well spent.
TEGUCIGALPA – When ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya made a symbolic (and brief) return to his homeland on Friday, what could have been a potentially dangerous situation turned out to be a show for live television — a far cry from the bloody coups of the past in Latin America.
Even as he walked toward the border in sight of Honduran security forces waiting to arrest him, Zelaya, in his trademark cowboy hat, took a call from CNN’s Spanish language channel and conducted a long interview with the broadcaster.