Chertoff: "Illegal migrants really degrade the environment"

Washington (AP) _ Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff today is defending the construction of a fence along the Southwest border.  He tells the Associated Press that the border fence is actually better for the environment than what happens when people illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico line.

In his words -- "Illegal migrants really degrade the environment.'' To curb illegal immigration, the U.S. Government plans to complete 370 miles of fencing and put 200 miles of vehicle barriers on the Southwest border by the end of 2008. But this has brought complaints that the fence and barriers are harmful to the environment.

Chertoff said the department exceeded its goal to complete 150 miles of fencing along the Mexican border by the end of the 2007 fiscal year, which was yesterday.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)