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To Build or Not To Build?

Whether it’s a $1B or $5B, Democrats, Republicans & the President want to use billions of YOUR money for border security.

How good of an investment is a border wall?

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Important Context:

  • 702 miles of fencing exists (inc. vehicle barriers, satellites etc.)
  • Approx. 1,000 miles left to cover (terrain prevents a wall or fence on complete 2,000-mile border).
  • $$ for border barriers came from a 2006 bill w/bipartisan support.
  • Does a fence/wall work? Data difficult to compare because of differences in barriers, terrain, foot/vehicle traffic, etc.
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“… DHS faces an increased risk that the Border Wall System Program will cost more than projected, take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected.”

Gov't Accountability Office, the gov't's nonpartisan watchdog agency, says the Dept. of Homeland Security hasn't collected the data needed to discern which type of barrier (wall/fence) would be most effective to stop illegal crossers.
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“Crime has significantly decreased in the Yuma area, and smugglers now look for other less difficult areas of the border to cross — often areas without fencing.”

Elaine Duke, in a 2017 column written when she was the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security. She addressed the challenges in collecting data, but says in the case of Yuma, Arizona, a fence helped deter illegal border crossings.
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Something To Consider:

“While physical barriers present the greatest impedance to illegal cross-border traffic, advancements in technology also allow for the possibility of ‘smart’ fencing in the US that provides a high-quality detection ….”

Justin Bristow, Border Security Dir. at the White House's National Security Council, on the potential use of buried fiber optic cables to catch illegal border crossers.
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Supporters & critics of a border wall have strong arguments, but no one has universal data to know what type of border barrier works best. Border patrol agents point out a wall may not keep out all illegal border crossers, it slows them down enough to be apprehended. Read more on our source page.

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DHS plans to spend billions of dollars developing and deploying new
barriers along the southwest border. However, by proceeding without key
information on cost, acquisition baselines, and the contributions of
previous barrier and technology deployments, DHS faces an increased
risk that the Border Wall System Program will cost more than projected,
take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected. Without
assessing costs when prioritizing locations for future barriers, CBP does
not have complete information to determine whether it is using its limited
resources in the most cost-effective manner and does not have important
cost information that would help it develop future budget requests.
Without documenting plans to require CBP to follow the DHS acquisition
process for the San Diego barrier segment, DHS may not establish cost,
schedule, and performance goals by which it can measure the program’s
progress. In addition, Border Patrol should continue to implement our
prior recommendations to assess the contributions of existing barriers
and technologies deployed along the southwest border and consider this
information when making future border security investments.”