Border Security: The San Diego Fence Page: 1 of 6
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Order Code RS22026
Updated May 23, 2007
~. CRS Report for Congress
Border Security: The San Diego Fence
Analyst in Domestic Security
Domestic Social Policy Division
Michael John Garcia
American Law Division
This report outlines the issues involved with DHS's construction of the San Diego
border fence and highlights some of the major legislative and administrative
developments regarding its completion; it will be updated as warranted.' Congress first
authorized the construction of a 14-mile, triple-layered fence along the U.S.-Mexico
border near San Diego in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration
Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996. By 2004, only nine miles had been completed,
and construction was halted because of environmental concerns. The 109th Congress
subsequently passed the REAL ID Act (P.L. 109-13, Div. B), which contained
provisions to facilitate the completion of the 14-mile fence. These provisions allow the
Secretary of Homeland Security to waive all legal requirements determined necessary
to ensure expeditious construction of authorized barriers and roads. In September 2005,
the Secretary used this authority to waive a number of mostly environmental and
conservation laws. Subsequently, the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-367) removed
the specific IIRIRA provisions authorizing the San Diego fence and added provisions
authorizing five stretches of two-layered reinforced fencing along the southwest border.
While the specific authorization of the San Diego fence was deleted, the project appears
permissible under a separate, more general authorization provision of IIRIRA. In the
110th Congress, S.Amdt. 1150, the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and
Immigration Reform Act of 2007, which has been proposed in the nature of a substitute
to S. 1348, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, would amend 102
of IIRIRA to once again expressly authorize the construction of the San Diego fence.
'For more analysis of border fencing and other barriers, please see CRS Report RL33659, Border
Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border, by Blas Nunez-Neto and Michael John
Congressional Research Service The Library of Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
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Border Security: The San Diego Fence, report, May 23, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc808731/m1/1/: accessed December 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.