A senior Homeland Security Department official said the department issued a solicitation Tuesday for a massive border security contract but also called on Congress to approve legislation for a temporary guest-worker program that would allow millions of migrants to legally work in the United States.
Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson said the Customs and Border Protection division announced its procurement plan for the Secure Border Initiative-Net program. "SBInet is a comprehensive attempt to bring together for the first time ... a package of tools that will comprehensively control the border," Jackson said during a keynote speech at a security summit organized by Equity International.
Under the program, the department is seeking a prime contractor to help develop and integrate technology and infrastructure with personnel along the border. SBInet was announced last fall to replace two previous efforts to gain control of the borders: the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System and America's Shield Initiative.
ISIS was scrapped in 2004 after government investigators found that technology for it either did not work or was never deployed. The shield initiative replaced ISIS, but the department now says SBInet is a better, more comprehensive program.
Jackson said SBInet will be a multi-year program, but its cost will depend on industry proposals in response to the solicitation. He declined to provide an estimate, saying only that the department plans to reserve "a very substantial amount of money" for the program in its fiscal 2007 budget.
Jackson also urged Congress to pass a temporary guest-worker program for millions of migrants, saying it will serve as a "release valve" to help direct willing workers to willing employers.
Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in cities across the country Monday in favor of such a program. The fate of legislation remains unclear, however, as Congress is divided on the issue and in recess until April 24.
The House passed a bill last December that does not include such a program. Negotiations in the Senate over legislation broke down at the end of last week.
Jackson said Homeland Security officials are trying to persuade lawmakers to approve a program. "We're actively engaged with Congress in helping them understand what a temporary worker program can do and how we can structure it to be able succeed administratively," he said.
He acknowledged that the department cannot move ahead with firm plans for a guest-worker program without legislation but said steps are being taken in anticipation of a bill.
At Homeland Security "we're certainly doing a lot of planning about how you would manage the intake, how you would manage the security background investigations for potential applicants, how we would interface with foreign governments that needed to have a link with us as we manage this process, how this intersects with our [incumbent systems, and] what we would need to do by way of workforce to be able to manage this project."
Obviously you don't understand the difference between civil servants and Congress. One works for a paycheck the other does the bidding of the Jack Abramoff types. One makes a modest middle class income the other benefits from a revolving door with big business and does their bidding.
No I don't own mutual funds. And if I did it would not disqualify me from speaking the truth that Haliburton and it's ilk having engaged in illegal war-profiteering courtesy of the Cheney Administration (and their Bush puppethead).
"No argument here that government has been hijacked and corrupted by big business"
Actually you are incorrect. Government (in this case the US Government) is the most heavily unionized entity in the USA. I contend that our Washington government has been hijacked by the AFL-CIO.
Do you own any mutual Funds? Do any of your mutual funds own stock in companies which get US government contracts? Are you a big government profiteer? Most people that bitch about Halliburton & Bechtel are invested indirectly with one or both comapnies. I wonder how many college professors that spout hate towards Halliburton & Bechtel have retirement money in those two companies.
Speaking of whor__, how are the Clintons?
No argument here that government has been hijacked and corrupted by big business. Both parties are whores in that regard although the Repugnicans take it to a whole 'nother level.
GOP motto: War Profiteers? You Betcha!
I didn't say anything about a US security fence in my post.
I don't think we will have a fence that sone are talking about. That is not what the border contract is about.
We may have fences here and there...but nothing like we see in Israel...
This is not a company that makes fences. This is a company that perimeter security solutions and is used on the US/Mexico border already.
I was responding to your post which was responding to ben's post which was about his hope for a US security fence.
If you want to ask me a question have at it but don't try to twist my answer about the US fence into something else.
While my next comment is speculation, it is closer to reality.
It is not unrealisitic to see magal as getting their share of the EU/Arabian/US market for border technology. Wall street does like story stocks and this is a story that continues to develop each day.
Nothing is unrealistic if you expand your definition of reality to include the highly improbable.
My definition of the improbable is Cheney giving a contract to a company other than Haliburton. Do you think he and his co-president felt shame for the way Haliburton was caught ripping off the US taxpayer on their Iraq contracts? If so they had a funny way of showing it; letting mega no-bid contracts to Haliburton for rebuilding after Katrina.
Believe me if there's a fence to be built (and it's extremely unlikely that measure will survive a House-Senate conference in the unlikely event the Senate even gets their act together to pass such legislation) the contract will go to the largest Republican corporate donors.
Last I checked MAGS wasn't handing out envelopes to congresspeople.