Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 18, 2006

Border fence bill moves through Congress

Filed under: Border Security,Congress and HLS — by Christian Beckner on September 18, 2006

A new bill on border fencing, H.R. 6061, emerged last week from the ashes of comprehensive immigration and border security legislation, and was passed by the House by a 283-138 vote. The Senate plans to take up the legislation this week, according to the Associated Press:

The Senate will consider a bill calling for erecting 700 miles of fencing on the U.S-Mexican border, a proposal that has been approved twice by the House.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., used a legislative maneuver to get the bill to the floor as early as Wednesday, when the Senate could decide whether to move forward on the legislation….

Democrats are likely to try to block the bill. They may try to attach the comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed in May as an amendment and push debate into next week. A delay could be a problem as Congress tries to wrestle with legislation addressing treatment of terrorism suspects.

I agree with the idea of increased fencing along the US-Mexico border to this extent (or even more). But I think these preventive investments need to be made in conjunction with deterrent investments, such as better worksite enforcement and some sort of temporary worker program. It doesn’t make sense to focus only on prevention or only on deterrence at the US-Mexico border. By making both types of investments, the Border Patrol will be better able to do its job at a high level of effectiveness.

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