Critics Decry $58M San Diego Border Fence

Wall designed to block already inhospitable mountain region
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2010 12:18 PM CST
An American flag flies during a ceremony held in front of the completed Smuggler's Gulch project along the US-Mexico border Monday July 6, 2009 in San Diego.   (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
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(Newser) – Critics are still gnashing their teeth over the Otay Mountain border fence, a 3.6-mile barrier that’s among the most costly and, according to detractors, least necessary ever built. The recently completed $57.7-million fence stands atop an inhospitable mountain just east of San Diego, and critics doubt that a would-be immigrant, after braving that 3,500-foot ascent, would be deterred by an 18-foot fence, the LA Times reports. The Department of Homeland Security even deemed it unnecessary in 2006.

“You simply don’t need a fence,” a Border Patrol spokesman said at the time. “There's no reason to disrupt the land when the land itself is a physical barrier.” But in 2008 the federal government waived more than 30 environmental laws, from the Wilderness Act to the Endangered Species Act, to build it. Today, Border Patrol says it approves of the fence. “We’re no longer conceding this area to smugglers,” a spokesman says.

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