House Passes Secure Fence Act of 2006
September 14, 2006 - The House passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (H.R. 6061) this afternoon by a vote of 283-138, authorizing the first in a series of border security initiatives House leaders intend to push through before the November elections. H.R. 6061 calls for the construction of 700 miles of 2-layered reinforced fencing, as well as other barriers and surveillance equipment, along specified regions of the U.S.-Mexico border. It also requires DHS to achieve "operational control," defined as prevention of all unlawful entries over land and maritime borders; to conduct a study on security along the northern border; and to evaluate the authority and ability of Customs and Border Protection personnel to stop fleeing vehicles that enter the U.S. unlawfully.
The Secure Fence Act is widely perceived as an attempt by some House Republicans to appear tough on immigration in the run-up to the elections, and to deflect attention from their unwillingness to strike a compromise with the Senate on immigration reform. Although the bill passed easily in the House, its fate in the Senate remains uncertain.