Fox News Live Desk – May 1, 2009
Julie Banderas (Fox News): The cost for the border fence with Mexico was about four million dollars a mile. The overall price tag so far hundreds of millions of dollars, and it could run higher. But on a bombing range in Arizona the military uses a high tech system that costs just a fraction of that figure. William La Jeunesse is live at the bombing range in Yuma, Arizona. William, why was this system necessary in the first place?
William La Jeunesse: Well it was necessary, Julie, because the Marines did not want to inadvertently kill the hundreds of illegal immigrants who were swarming this base. We are at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. This is where Navy, Marine Corps pilots come to train. They get in dogfights – they drop live ordinance – it’s a dangerous place. Forty miles of their southern boundary is the Mexican border.
Now in 2005 they had to shut it down 200 times because illegals were wandering the base. Pilots lost training, taxpayers lost money. So, they bought a radar system that was relatively cheap. Now, in conjunction with that fence, it’s not either-or, it’s both – in conjunction with the fence. The problem of ? prosecution, they dropped from four thousand intrusions in 2005 to zero in the last twelve months.
Julie: So exactly how does it work?
La Jeunesse: Well the radar basically - like this tower that we see here - it can scan about twenty miles of radius – see every illegal immigrant in that population, give them a red dot. It gives you longitude and latitude of where they are. Unlike a camera it can track multiple targets at one time and unlike sensors, which is basically the illegal crosses a picket line, this thing can literally track them all the way through.
Now, in addition, I say this is only one component, because you need that border fence in urban areas. In the mountainous areas you need something else. The National Guard here improved the roadway, allowing the Border Patrol to move quickly in on these guys. So it is a mixture integrated mix that has made these numbers so dramatic – a decline of ninety four percent of arrests in the last four years. Julie?
Julie: Wow, interesting stuff, technology, amazing - William La Jeunesse, thank you very much.