Border Security Laundry List

National Security,  | Analysis
Feb 3, 2014  | 5 min read | Print Article

Immigration reform is once again at the forefront of the political discussion in Washington.  There is movement in the House of Representatives to craft a bill they can pass.  Last year, when the immigration reform policy bill (S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act) was on the Senate floor, a strange thing happened.  It was amended to add a laundry list of security hardware systems that seemed out of place in the bill language of an immigration policy bill.

At Taxpayers for Common Sense we recently did an analysis of the amendment which added $12 Billion to the cost of the bill to supposedly enhance physical security on our southern border.  This is in addition to $30 Billion for the deployment of additional Border Patrol agents.  

Included in the $12 Billion, $7.5 Billion is to build 350 more miles of fencing and $4.5 Billion is to carry out the so-called “Comprehensive Southern  Border Security Strategy”.  This “strategy” in reality is a Department of Homeland Security wish list of hardware that was included in their “Report on the Assessment of the Secure Border Initiative-Network (SBInet) Program.”

What bothers us most about this amendment is that it harkens back to the bad-old-days of earmarking federal funds for specific hardware programs.  And while we know this amendment was actually born of a DHS wish list and not the efforts of individual Senators, it reads more like a government contractor’s wish list with mandated spending on hardware systems.  In fact, at least one of these programs is not even actively manufactured.  To illustrate just a few of the items that we find the most indefensible, we have developed the attached infographic.

This just scratches the surface of the programs that were jammed into the Senate’s immigration “reform” bill.  We don’t think this is true immigration reform and we certainly don’t think it’s good policy.

Also see: “Immigration deal would boost defense manufacturers,” Washington Post, July 1, 2013

Border Security Amendment Table

System # of items/units Contractor(s)
Integrated Fixed Towers 93 Elbit Corporation (Israel)
Fixed camera systems (with relocation capability) 488 Unknown
Remote Video Surveillance Systems 488 General Dynamics
Mobile Surveillance Systems 232 Unknown
Mobile Surveillance Systems
(A) Mobile Video Surveillance Systems
140 FLIR Systems
Mobile Surveillance Systems
(B) Agent-portable surveillance Systems
23 Venture TEC
Mobile Surveillance Systems
(C) Mobile Surveillance capability Systems
69 FLIR Systems
Unattended Ground Sensors (seismic, imaging and IR) 4,595 Government Buys, Inc.
Handheld Thermal Imaging Systems 820 FLIR Systems
NVG 820 Unknown
Mobile Handheld Inspection Scopes&Sensors for checkpoints 26 Unknown
Non-intrusive Inspection Systems (fixed and mobile) 7 Rapiscan Systems; L3; SAIC;
American Science & Engineering
Radiation Portal Monitor 1 Federal Services Supply Co.;
Rapiscan; SAIC
Littoral Detection and Classification Network 1 Unknown
Sensor Repeaters 93 Monitron Inc.; Intrusion
Detection Systems
Communications Repeaters 90 Daniels Electronics, CANADA
Fiber-optic Tank Inspection Scopes 43 Optim
License Plate Reader 28 DRS
Card Reader System 2 APL Access; Kastle Systems
Backscatter 5 American Science Engineering
Portable Contraband Detectors 37 GE Homeland Protection Systems
Radiation Isotope ID Devices (RIID) 16 SAIC
Radiation Isotope ID Device Updates 88 Unknown
Personal Radiation Detectors 416 Sensor Technology Engineering
Mobile Automated Targeting Systems 62 Unisys, VA (maintenance); NCS,
VA (hardware & license)
Land Automated Targeting Systems 9 Unknown
Camera Refresh 6 Unknown
Mid-Range Camera Refresh 1 Unknown
Realtime Radioscopy Version 4 1 Unknown
Improved Surveillance Capabilities for existing Aerostat 2 Information System Laboratory;
FLIR Systems
Unmanned a/c Systems 4 General Atomics
VADER Radar Systems 6 Northrop Grumman
UH-1N helos 17 Bell Helicopter; General
C-206H aircraft upgrades 8 Cessna
AS-350 Light Enforcement Helicopters 8 American Eurocopter
UH-60 Blackhawk A-L conversion 10 Sikorsky
UH-60M Blackhawk 5 Sikorsky
Marine Vessels 30 Intrepid Powerboats
Taxpayer Turkeys to Tweet About


 For more on this issue see the following related articles:

TCS Analysis of President's Supplemental Budget Request for FY2014 (to address border security issues)

Just the Facts about Border “Security” and Immigration Reform


Share This Story!