It's been more than a quarter century since the federal government enacted any immigration legislation which wasn't about enforcement and over that time, the government has spend hundreds of billions of dollars on fences, aircrafts, detention centers and agents. NPR's Ted Robbins looks at what taxpayer money has bought and why it's not likely to go away, even as budgets shrink and illegal immigration lessens.
The United States' southern border bristles with technology and manpower designed to catch illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. Since 1986, the government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on fences, aircraft, detention centers and agents.
But even as federal budgets shrink and illegal immigration ebbs, experts say that there's no end in sight for the growth of the border-industrial complex.
Emergency responders pose this scenario: you're deep in work at your desk, when suddenly the sound of gunfire and screaming wash over you. Somebody is repeatedly firing a gun in your office and your co-workers are hurt or, perhaps, dead.