Right Hooks

Only 36 Miles of Up-to-Date Fence on the Border

The numbers DHS provided continue to be bad news for immigration enforcement.

Dan Gilmore · Sep. 8, 2015
A border fence that stops both vehicle and foot traffic. Photo courtesy DHS OIG

The Department of Homeland Security recently informed the Senate that the border between Mexico and the United States is only properly fenced for 36.3 miles, or 0.02% of its entire length. Two-thirds of the border has no fencing at all, and there are no current plans to build a barrier. “A Senate official said that the 2006 Secure Fence Act required 700 miles of double-layer fencing because Border Patrol members said double layer works best,” the Washington Examiner wrote. “Reports indicated that illegal immigrants can easily scale single fences.” Currently, some sections of the border are simply fenced with metal sheets once used as helicopter landing pads during the Vietnam War. This is not a failure solely of the Obama administration. The DHS Office of Inspector General issued a report in 2009, which said the Border Patrol did not fully staff the project and faced difficulty in getting the land needed to erect the fence — even though it got a waiver to ignore environmental requirements. But the chance that the Border Patrol can restart the construction and bring an increase of law enforcement to the border is fraught with political barriers, thanks to this current administration.

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