While low-tech border fencing is going up — a physical wall — it's discouraging to learn that technical problems are slowing the kind of fence we prefer, high-tech.

Cameras, radar, sensors and mobile units are the way to secure our borders.

But Boeing has been having trouble with computer software. Computers are having difficulties with moisture and distinguishing people from animals — or even from the wind.

These high-tech tools are being tested in the El Paso area, and also near Tucson, Ariz., according to the McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

The Department of Homeland Security reports that Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is now four months behind schedule. It has given Boeing until the end of the year to fix the problems.

The good news is that Boeing reports it has solved most of the problems.

We have to agree that Boeing will master the system. If we can send astronauts into space, we can find solutions to software problems on high-tech equipment.

Brad Benson, spokesman for the high-tech Secure Border Initiative, said, ”It's not that there's no function, it's the ease of use and is it an effective tool. Once it's seen as effective” it will be used.

Meanwhile, the low-tech fence has been proving effective in nearby Columbus, N.M., a border city with Palomas, Mexico. It's a 15-foot-high metal fence extending 2.7 miles west of town and three-tenths of a mile to the east. To the west, a waist-high concrete-filled metal vehicle barrier extends well past the 15-foot fencing.

Residents in the area said they've noticed fewer pickups crossing the desert into the U.S. with loads of drugs and undocumented immigrants.

McClatchy reported that, for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, apprehension of undocumented immigrants in New Mexico declined by 44 percent from fiscal 2006.

All across the border, apprehensions are reported down.

Plans call for 700 miles of physical fencing along our 2,000-mile border with Mexico — 370 miles of it by the end of next year.

Although data show the fences work, we believe modern technology — high tech — will eventually be our best solution.

The goal should be secure borders while maintaining friendly relations with our neighboring Mexico.

URL: http://www.elpasotimes.com

—El Paso Times