Cross posted from The Virtuous Republic
I came across an interesting story from Congressional Quarterly regarding the status of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The gist of the story is that it isn’t being built.
Here is the original text of the Secure Fence Act that passed by Congress and was signed by the President:
One Hundred Ninth Congress
United States of America
AT THE SECOND SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,
the third day of January, two thousand and six
To establish operational control over the international land and maritime borders of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Secure Fence Act of 2006′.
SEC. 2. ACHIEVING OPERATIONAL CONTROL ON THE BORDER.
(a) In General- Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take all actions the Secretary determines necessary and appropriate to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States, to include the following–
(1) systematic surveillance of the international land and maritime borders of the United States through more effective use of personnel and technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, ground-based sensors, satellites, radar coverage, and cameras; and
(2) physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful entry by aliens into the United States and facilitate access to the international land and maritime borders by United States Customs and Border Protection, such as additional checkpoints, all weather access roads, and vehicle barriers.
(b) Operational Control Defined- In this section, the term `operational control’ means the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.
(c) Report- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the progress made toward achieving and maintaining operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States in accordance with this section.
SEC. 3. CONSTRUCTION OF FENCING AND SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS IN BORDER AREA FROM PACIFIC OCEAN TO GULF OF MEXICO.
Section 102(b) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-208; 8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is amended–
(1) in the subsection heading by striking `Near San Diego, California’; and
(2) by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:
`(1) SECURITY FEATURES-
`(A) REINFORCED FENCING- In carrying out subsection (a), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors–
`(i) extending from 10 miles west of the Tecate, California, port of entry to 10 miles east of the Tecate, California, port of entry;
`(ii) extending from 10 miles west of the Calexico, California, port of entry to 5 miles east of the Douglas, Arizona, port of entry;
`(iii) extending from 5 miles west of the Columbus, New Mexico, port of entry to 10 miles east of El Paso, Texas;
`(iv) extending from 5 miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry to 5 miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry; and
`(v) extending 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry.
`(B) PRIORITY AREAS- With respect to the border described–
`(i) in subparagraph (A)(ii), the Secretary shall ensure that an interlocking surveillance camera system is installed along such area by May 30, 2007, and that fence construction is completed by May 30, 2008; and
`(ii) in subparagraph (A)(v), the Secretary shall ensure that fence construction from 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to 15 southeast of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry is completed by December 31, 2008.
`(C) EXCEPTION- If the topography of a specific area has an elevation grade that exceeds 10 percent, the Secretary may use other means to secure such area, including the use of surveillance and barrier tools.’.
SEC. 4. NORTHERN BORDER STUDY.
(a) In General- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall conduct a study on the feasibility of a state of-the-art infrastructure security system along the northern international land and maritime border of the United States and shall include in the study–
(1) the necessity of implementing such a system;
(2) the feasibility of implementing such a system; and
(3) the economic impact implementing such a system will have along the northern border.
(b) Report- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report that contains the results of the study conducted under subsection (a).
SEC. 5. EVALUATION AND REPORT RELATING TO CUSTOMS AUTHORITY TO STOP CERTAIN FLEEING VEHICLES.
(a) Evaluation- Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall–
(1) evaluate the authority of personnel of United States Customs and Border Protection to stop vehicles that enter the United States illegally and refuse to stop when ordered to do so by such personnel, compare such Customs authority with the authority of the Coast Guard to stop vessels under section 637 of title 14, United States Code, and make an assessment as to whether such Customs authority should be expanded;
(2) review the equipment and technology available to United States Customs and Border Protection personnel to stop vehicles described in paragraph (1) and make an assessment as to whether or not better equipment or technology is available or should be developed; and
(3) evaluate the training provided to United States Customs and Border Protection personnel to stop vehicles described in paragraph (1).
(b) Report- Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report that contains the results of the evaluation conducted under subsection (a).
Now that you have read the bill, here is the bad news, the DHS isn’t following the law. So far, only “Fourteen of the 700 miles of the fencing required by the Secure Fence Act have been built, in Arizona, and it is a single rather than double layer, according to Kasper, who said Hunter’s office consults with Border Patrol.” And this little bit of fencing isn’t even up to the standards set in the legislation.
Notice the evasive response from a DHS spokesman Keehner who said, “86 miles of fencing exist on the Mexican border…” Notice he didn’t say that DHS had built 86 miles of the required fencing so far, just that 86 miles of fencing exists.
Funding is not an issue and over $1.2 billion has been allocated for the construction of the fence in bill PL 109-295 according to this article.
According to a spokesman for Hunter, the bill, which you can read above, sets out several dates that are to be met. One was a May 2007 date, in which a camera system was to be installed along the border in California and Arizona. This hasn’t been accomplished.
Do we really think the 2008 and 2009 deadlines for fencing along the Arizona and Texas borders will be met? Do you believe Chertoff when he says that DHS will have control of the southwest border by 2011?
If you do, you might want to reconsider our elite’s commitment to border security as signified by their actions. Not only have they not followed the law as set forth by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, they are now withdrawing half the the National Guardsmen that were patrolling it:
The National Guard plans to reduce the number of troops serving along the US-Mexico border in Texas and three other states from about 6,000 to about 3,000, a National Guard Bureau spokesman said Wednesday.
Last year President Bush directed the guard to provide support to Border Patrol agents along the 2,000-mile border in a temporary move designed to give the US Customs and Border Protection Agency time to add and train personnel.
The reduction should be complete by Sept. 1.
“It was never meant to be a permanent solution,” National Guard Bureau spokesman Army Maj. David Kolarik told American Forces Press Service Wednesday.
“It was just an intermediate measure to provide support for border security efforts until they brought the additional resources and personnel in line that they needed.”
Have the operational imperatives at the border improved so much that the Guard can be withdrawn? I doubt it. Instead, it just shows that our elites are more interested in cheap labor than the security of the United States and the safety of its citizens.
**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email stiknstein-at-gmail-dot-com and let us know at what level you would like to participate.
Read what other members of CAII have written on the immigration crisis: