U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, author of the fencing provisions of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, has introduced new legislation in the House of Representatives to require the construction of double-layered fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico within six months.
As WND previously reported, the language of an amendment submitted by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, into the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Homeland Security funding bill, H.R. 2638, specifically exempts DHS from having to build any fence at all.
The Hutchison amendment reads, in part, ” … 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.”
The result of the Hutchison amendment was to give DHS total discretion to build a fence or not to build a fence in any particular location, removing from the Secure Fence Act the requirement that 700 miles of double-layer fence be built on the border with Mexico.
“When the Secure Fence Act was enacted more than one year ago, the American people were pleased to see the necessary steps were finally being taken to secure the dangerous and problematic smuggling corridors that exist along our border with Mexico,” Hunter said.
“Instead of adhering to the law and building the prescribed fencing, the Department of Homeland Security began to immediately retreat from the mandates of the bill, indicating its intention to build 370 miles of fence and not the required 700 miles,” he continued.
Hunter pointed out DHS has built approximately 75 miles of new fence along the border, of which only five miles is double-layered.
“The reality is that single-layered fencing and vehicle barriers do little, if anything, to stop illegal immigration and the ‘virtual fence’ alternative being aggressively pursued by DHS remains ineffective and unusable,” he emphasized.
“The legislation I am introducing reinstates the most important elements of the Secure Fence, which were wrongly amended under the omnibus spending bill,” Hunter noted. “If we truly hope to bring some sense of security to our southern land border, then we must begin building the appropriate infrastructure in the timeliest manner possible.”
Hunter’s bill also would eliminate the “consultation” language in the omnibus appropriations bill which required DHS to open for discussion with landholders and residents on the border the wisdom and necessity of building a two-layered fence.
Hunter noted that provision potentially opened fence construction to endless challenges.
Hunter’s new legislation has been referred to the House Homeland Security Committee for further consideration.