Border fence could be new president's problem

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush wanted to finish building a Southwest border fence before he leaves office. But the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday that he cannot promise he'll meet the deadline.

The plan has been to complete the 670 miles of physical fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of this year. And, so far, some 344 are complete. But Customs Commissioner Ralph Basham could only assure that the remaining portions of fence would be under contract or under construction when the Bush administration leaves office next January. Basham also said the agency needs an additional $400 million to get this done.

Higher costs of fuel, steel and limited available labor have led to the $400 million shortfall.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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