We'll Take Popularity over Success Any Day

Do the math, and that's a $60,000 T-shirt.

Looks like the cameras Rick Perry put on the border and made accessible to sit-at-home Minutemen didn't yield too many results.

The Chron has the story:

A month-long test run this fall of a Web site allowing ordinary citizens [to] monitor the border via live video resulted in the apprehension of 10 undocumented immigrants, one drug bust and one interrupted smuggling route.

So little success? That's weird. We saw all kinds of stuff when we watched the cameras last November.

But no worries; the cameras weren't really supposed to catch anyone, you see:

State officials said that making apprehensions wasn't the goal of the $200,000 border camera tests.

The point was to see whether the idea was feasible — and whether the software and technology worked, Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw said.

"This wasn't designed to tee-up and support (law enforcement) operationally. It never was," McCraw told the El Paso Times for today's editions. "It was designed specifically just to see the technology."

The good news: During the month of November, the site racked up about 220,000 registered users and almost 28 million hits.

Perry spokesman Robert Black said Perry would ask lawmakers for the $5 million to operate the cameras as part of his $100 million border security package.

"If we can get this much help and feedback from a handful of cameras, we're going to get a lot more participation the more cameras we put up," Black said.

Okay, so just to be clear: It cost the state $200,000 to catch ten illegal immigrants. That's $20,000 per immigrant. On the bright side, one out of every 22,000 registered users got to experience the joy of nabbing a crosser while wearing his pajamas.

Definitely sounds like we should stay the course. — Keith Plocek


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