Ryan Byrnes
February 12, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has built only 32 miles of double-layer fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border out of the 700 miles originally mandated by a 2006 act of Congress, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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One reason DHS has been able to do this is an amendment that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R.-Texas) slipped into an omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed on December 18, 2007. Hutchison’s amendment put a loophole in the fence law that allowed the secretary of Homeland Security not to build the fence Congress had mandated the year before.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 specifically ordered DHS to build two layers of reinforced fencing along 700 specific miles of the nearly 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico border.

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