Key Vote Analysis
This bill authorized the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of 2008.
According to the Washington Post, at least two layers of reinforced fencing will be built around the border town of Tecate, Calif., along with a huge expanse stretching from Calexico, Calif. to Douglas, Ariz. Another expanse will stretch over much of the southern border of New Mexico, with another section winding through Texas.
The bill stipulates that the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for gaining control of the border within 18 months, using unmanned aerial vehicles, ground-based sensors, satellites, radar and cameras to prevent all unlawful U.S. entries. Congress approved $1.2 billion in a separate homeland security spending bill to bankroll the fence, though critics say this is $4.8 billion less than what’s likely needed to get it built.
Critics say House Republican leaders needed to pass the bill in order to seem tough on illegal immigrants. Critics also argue that the legislation does not jibe with President Bush’s vision of a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws. Advocates of the measure call it a landmark step toward securing the nation's porous borders. Neither side, however, thinks that the fence can be built as the bill’s authors envision, because of the terrain and a potential lawsuit from a Native American group whose lands would be impacted by the project.