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DHS gives final approval to 'virtual fence' along US-Mexico border

[JURIST] The US government has granted final approval to the first stretch of "virtual fencing" [JURIST report], which will run for 28 miles along the US-Mexico border [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Friday at a briefing [transcript] on Immigration Enforcement and Border Security Efforts. The virtual fence, part of the Secure Border Initiative [DHS fact sheet] developed to control illegal immigration and drug smuggling, includes 98-foot unmanned towers equipped with radar, sensors and cameras. Computer software glitches had delayed the testing and use of the fence [AP report] until Boeing, the technology's creator, largely fixed the problems [DHS press release] in early December 2007.

US Attorney General Michael Mukasey spoke at the same press briefing Friday and said that the DOJ and DHS had approved a new rule to increase civil fines against employers who violate federal immigration law [transcript; press release]. The new rule takes effect on March 27. AP has more.

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