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America's Border Fence

September 19, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 32
Will it stem the flow of illegal immigrants?
By Reed Karaim

Introduction

U.S. Army personnel install sections of the fence near Puerto Palomas, Mexico. U.S. officials expect to complete 670 miles of pedestrian and vehicle barriers by year's end.  (AFP/Getty Images/Guadalupe Williams)
U.S. Army personnel install sections of the fence near Puerto Palomas, Mexico. U.S. officials expect to complete 670 miles of pedestrian and vehicle barriers by year's end. (AFP/Getty Images/Guadalupe Williams)

America is rushing to build 670 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border by the end of the year. The fence — or wall, as critics along the border call it — is to include 370 miles of fencing intended to stop illegal immigrants on foot and 300 miles of vehicle barriers. To speed construction, the Bush administration is using unprecedented authority granted by Congress to waive environmental-, historic- and cultural-protection laws. No one claims that building physical barriers along roughly a third of America's 2,000-mile Southern border will stem illegal immigration by itself, but supporters believe it is an essential first step in "securing the border," providing a critical line of defense against illegal migration, drug smugglers and even terrorists. Opponents see it as a multi-billion-dollar waste that will only shift illegal immigrants toward more dangerous and difficult routes into the country, while doing environmental, cultural and economic damage.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Immigration and Naturalization
Sep. 27, 2013  Border Security
Mar. 09, 2012  Immigration Conflict
Dec. 2010  Europe's Immigration Turmoil
Sep. 19, 2008  America's Border Fence
Feb. 01, 2008  Immigration DebateUpdated
May 04, 2007  Real ID
May 06, 2005  Illegal Immigration
Jul. 14, 2000  Debate Over Immigration
Jan. 24, 1997  The New Immigrants
Feb. 03, 1995  Cracking Down on Immigration
Sep. 24, 1993  Immigration Reform
Apr. 24, 1992  Illegal Immigration
Jun. 13, 1986  Immigration
Dec. 10, 1976  Illegal Immigration
Dec. 13, 1974  The New Immigration
Feb. 12, 1964  Immigration Policy Revision
Feb. 06, 1957  Immigration Policy
Nov. 27, 1951  Emigration from Europe
Feb. 09, 1945  Immigration to Palestine
Sep. 30, 1940  Forced Migrations
Apr. 18, 1939  Immigration and Deportation
Jul. 27, 1931  Deportation of Aliens
Mar. 12, 1929  The National-Origin Immigration Plan
Aug. 19, 1927  Immigration from Canada and Latin America
Nov. 01, 1926  Quota Control and the National Origin System
Jul. 12, 1924  Immigration and its Relation to Political and Economic Theories and Party Affiliation
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Immigration and Naturalization
Outsourcing and Immigration
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
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