During his El Paso speech about immigration reform on May 10, 2011, Obama declared that the fence along the border with Mexico is “now basically complete.”
Like much of what comes out of the Obama administration, that was a lie.
What was supposed to be built was a double layered fence with barbed-wire on top, and room for a security vehicle to patrol between the layers. Except for 36 of the seven-hundred mile fence, what was built is only slightly better than no fence at all.
But that won’t stop the liar-in-chief. He claims:
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“We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement,” Obama said. “All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time.”
Maybe he’s right–the goal posts were moved, but to make the job easier.
The Secure Fence Act was introduced on Sept. 13, 2006 by Rep Peter King (R-NY) and passed Congress on a bi-partisan basis. In the House of Representatives, the Fence Act passed 283 -138 on September 14, 2006. On September 29, 2006, the Fence Act passed in the Senate 80 -19. The Secure Fence Act of 2006’s goal was to help secure America’s borders to decrease illegal entry, drug trafficking, and security threats by building 700 miles (1,100 km) of physical barriers along the Mexico-United States border. Additionally, the law authorized more vehicle barriers, checkpoints, and lighting as well as authorizing the Department of Homeland Security to increase the use of advanced technology such as cameras, satellites, and unmanned aerial vehicles to reinforce infrastructure at the border. So far less than 40 miles of a real fence have been built – most of it during the Bush Administration.
Of the almost 700 miles of fencing, DHS reports there are currently 36.3 miles of double-layered fencing, as the bill required, the kind with enough gap that you can drive a vehicle between the layers. But the majority of the fencing erected has been made from vehicle barriers with single-layer pedestrian fencing, the kind of barriers that are designed to stop vehicles rather than people. The design specifications vary, depending on geography and climate characteristics, but according to the Customs and Border Patrol website, those include ‘post on rail’ steel set in concrete; steel picket-style fence set in concrete; vehicle bollards similar to those found around federal buildings; ‘Normandy; vehicle fence consisting of steel beams; and concrete jersey walls with steel mesh.
The first blow against the promised fence was made by Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican Senator from Texas, at the urging of DHS she proposed an amendment to give the Department discretion to decide what type of fence was appropriate in different areas. The law was amended to read,
“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.”
Hutchison’s amendment was included in a federal budget bill in late 2007 despite the fact that Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., had a cow…he argued the amendment effectively killed the border fence promised in the 2006 bill, he was right. Hutchison’s intentions may have been honorable, but she didn’t foresee Barack Obama being the next president.
When Janet Napolitano became Obama’s first DHS she took advantage of Ms. Hutchison’s 2007 amendment, instead of building a fence which look something like the below, she built a fence that was mostly a combination of the two pictures above.
When She was still Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano said, “You show me a 50-foot wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border.”
And she may be right The fence will never STOP all illegal crossings. The purpose of the fence is two-fold, slowing the intruders and making them visible to members of the border patrol. The rest of the work is done by human beings.
Very little of the Israeli separation barrier erected to keep out terrorists is a wall, most of the 400 miles of the barrier which has received so much international scorn is a two layered fence like section of their barrier below. The fence has served its purpose, in 2002, the year before construction started, 457 Israelis were murdered; in 2009, 8 Israelis were killed.
The reason it has been effective is not simply the fence itself but how the fence is guarded and patrolled. And that’s what will make our fence along the Mexican border work.
Here’s the bottom line. Back in 2006 the people of the U.S. were promised a border fence. Since then thanks to Kay Bailey Hutchison and Barack Obama 95% of the fence wasn’t built. The arguments against the fence are bogus especially if you look at Israel’s history. It’s time for America to demand that its leaders build the fence they promised. No one can honestly say it wont work, after all it hasn’t been tried.