The Business of Business is Government


We do not know whether Congress will pass an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws; we do not know whether such a bill would follow the House’s preference for border enforcement or the Senate’s preference for amnesty for those already here plus increased ceilings on the number of legal immigrants for those aspiring to come. We do not know how the debate over this contentious and emotional issue will be resolved–to date the conventional wisdom has proven to be a bit off target, to say the least.

One thing that apparently has been resolved, however, is that whatever results from the immigration debate, the solution will be implemented by a private company:

Some of the nation’s largest defense contractors were among the firms yesterday that submitted bids on a multi-billion dollar Homeland Security Department contract designed to shore up the nation’s porous borders and help curb illegal immigration.

The Secure Border Initiative, which has at its heart a six-year, $2 billion contract, is intended to give the United States a comprehensive solution to its persistent border problems. Homeland Security officials have said they are looking for a contractor that can bring together technology, Border Patrol staff members and barriers to keep illegal immigrants on the other side of the nearly 7,000 miles of U.S. land that borders Mexico and Canada.

While the government says it will leave the details to the contractor, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has mentioned a desire to see increased use of unmanned drones, better detection technology and expanded detention facilities, among other elements. (emphasis added)

According to the Washington Post, there are five companies bidding: Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman Corp., Boeing Co. and Ericsson, which apparently is the only company in the running without large defense contracts.

With all due respect to these firms, shouldn’t the federal government “bring together technology, Border Patrol staff members and barriers” rather than a private company?