In 2006, President George W. Bush combated the increasing illegal immigrant problem along the United States southern border by signing the Secure Fence Act saying,
“This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.”
This 2006 legislation that remains on the books is just what President-elect Donald Trump needs to build the wall.
And he’ll only need to fund the Secure Fence Act, where the legislation clearly states a double-layer wall should be built along the border of Mexico, which is what Congress originally intended 10 years ago.
The Secure Fence Act called for building some 700 miles of double-fence construction along the Mexican border, complete with vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting. Congress approved $1.2 billion in a separate Homeland Security-spending bill to build the fence.
But what happened?
The Democrats in Congress originally blocked funding, of course, arguing the barrier is too costly and a step away from their stated goal of “comprehensive immigration reform.”
This is liberal code for proposed legislation that typically includes de facto amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States.
But it all lies with the Department of Homeland Security at this point – which was by design.
So where’s the fence then?
Then-Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas submitted an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security 2008 budget that gutted the Act.
Hutchison’s amendment 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.”
And by slipping this amendment into the funding bill, Hutchison gave DHS total discretion whether to build a fence or not.
But Hutchison knew this, and knew that if he gave then-Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff full discretion to build the fence or not, then the Bush administration could negotiate more security at the local level along the border – like adding cameras, drones, sensors, and other technological surveillance measures, which are necessary additions to the fence.
Because as Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif) wrote:
“… Fencing and infrastructure alone are by no means enough to stop illegal crossings, but the presence of physical impediments at the border, when supported by manpower and technology, create barriers that make entry increasingly more difficult and sometimes impossible.”
Fast-forward to 2014, the Obama administration lied about claiming the border infrastructure needs had been met, 40 miles of double-layered fence had been built, basically meeting the minimum requirements of the Act.
It’s all about liberal loopholes to fit their agenda of progressing the endless illegal immigration problem.
But both Parties were problematic in finishing the Secure Fence Act because, as former Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina pointed out:
“We’ve now had two administrations fail to keep their promise to the American people to secure our border and Americans are tired of excuses.
Americans have demanded a real fence to combat the very real problems of illegal immigration that have led to human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping and violence on our border. Congress will never be able to achieve long-term reform to create a legal immigration system that works until we secure our borders.”
Now President-elect Donald Trump will need to raise about $4 billion instead of the initial $1.2 billion to finish the wall, thanks to inflation.