President Obama's new budget blueprint shelved extension of the controversial border fence beyond the 670 miles already completed or planned – rejecting the much-heralded security approach orchestrated by former President George W. Bush, reports the Houston Chronicle. The turnabout left funds for roads, lights and so-called tactical infrastructure – but not a dime to extend the pedestrian fencing and vehicle barriers erected along roughly a third of the nation's 1,947-mile border with Mexico. The top financial officer at the Department of Homeland Security, Peggy Sherry, said the administration would not extend a barrier network that has irked neighboring Mexico and raised concerns among immigrant advocates.
As recently as last October, the federal government had completed just a one half-mile section of the 110 miles of pedestrian border fence promised in Texas. The administration asked Congress for $779 million for border security-related expenses that included installation of technology, tactical infrastructure and completion of some of the remaining 46 miles of barriers. That was a significant drop from the $1.9 billion spent on the same activities by the Bush administration in fiscal 2008 and the $926 million set aside by the outgoing administration for the current fiscal year.