President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget would cut the border patrol by 180 agents through attrition and trim spending on a “virtual fence” along the nation’s Southwest border, reports the Arizona Republic. Officials said they do not expect the proposed cuts to reduce the effectiveness of the border patrol, which has doubled in size during the past five years to more than 20,000 agents. The budget also would slash funding by nearly $226 million for an electronic “virtual fence” system along the border, made up of cameras, radar and sensors placed on towers.
The government last month ordered a reassessment of the $8 billion program after continuing delays in constructing the system near the Arizona border with Mexico. While cutting some border programs, the administration is seeking an additional $10 million to create Border Enforcement Security Task Forces in Honolulu, San Francisco, and Massena, N.Y. These multi-agency teams work to identify and stop criminal organizations that transport drugs and other contraband across U.S. borders. The administration also is seeking more than $103 million to improve the Internet-based E-Verify system that allows employers to check the legal residency status of job applicants.