Feds Have Built Only 32 Miles of 700 Mile Double-Border Fence Originally Mandated by Congress

May 6, 2010 04:17


Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R.-Texas) slipped into an omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed on December 18, 2007.  Hutchison’s amendment put a loophole in the fence law that allowed the secretary of Homeland Security not to build the fence Congress had mandated the year before.

By Ryan Byrnes at CNSNews.com


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has built only 32 miles of double-layer fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border out of the 700 miles originally mandated by a 2006 act of Congress, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

One reason DHS has been able to do this is an amendment that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R.-Texas) slipped into an omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed on December 18, 2007.  Hutchison’s amendment put a loophole in the fence law that allowed the secretary of Homeland Security not to build the fence Congress had mandated the year before.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 specifically ordered DHS to build two layers of reinforced fencing along 700 specific miles of the nearly 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico border.

“The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors” along 700 miles of designated border areas, the Secure Fence Act said.

Hutchison’s 2007 amendment neutered this language. It said: “Limitation on Requirements.–Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), nothing in this paragraph shall require the Secretary of Homeland Security to install fencing, physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors in a particular location along an international border of the United States, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border at such location.”

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