Obama said in a speech in El Paso, Texas May 10, 2011 (full transcript)

They wanted a fence. Well, that fence is now basically complete.

And we've gone further. We tripled the number of intelligence analysts working the border. I've deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the skies from Texas to California. We've forged a partnership with Mexico to fight the transnational criminal organizations that have affected both of our countries. And for the first time we are screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments -- to seize guns and money going south even as we go after drugs coming north.

So, we have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. But even though we've answered these concerns, I suspect there will be those who will try to move the goal posts one more time. They'll say we need to triple the border patrol. Or quadruple the border patrol. They'll say we need a higher fence to support reform.

How basically complete is the fence?

Did they actually go above and beyond what was requested by the Republicans?

1 Answer 1


No. No. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 that was passed by the Republicans and signed by George W. Bush required a double layered fence. Only 36.3 miles of double layered fences are complete (PolitiFact quote, link below)

You need to go back to the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President George W. Bush. It authorized the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along the border with Mexico. The act specified "at least two layers of reinforced fencing."

According to PolitiFact

DHS reports that there is now fencing for 649 of the 652 miles described in the Secure Fence Act of 2006. But the vast majority of the requirement was met with vehicle barriers and single-layer pedestrian fence. The original act specifically called for double-layer fencing, and only 36.3 miles of double-layered fencing currently exist. However, the act was later amended to allow Border Security the discretion to determine which type of fencing was appropriate for different areas.

So Obama can make a case that the vehicle barriers and single-layer pedestrian fences meet the amended letter of the law. But we also think Obama misleads, particularly when he mocks Republican opponents, saying that even though the fence has been built, "They'll want want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat." The Border Patrol has not gone "above and beyond" what Republicans requested, as Obama claimed. What they originally requested was a double-layer fence, and they didn't get much of it. And so we rate Obama's statement Barely True.

  • +1 and as I recall GWB said it was the first step in an eventual fence that would run the entire length of the Mexico-US border. So the current solution provided not quite half of the first step.
    – Chad
    Jun 11, 2012 at 13:08
  • 7
    More biased propaganda by user1873, asked a question, and immediately answered it, then upvoted and accepted his own question.
    – user3344
    Sep 12, 2012 at 0:17
  • @woodchips, I think you mean more propaganda by PolitiFact, considering the answer is basically copied from them verbatim. You cannot upvote your own answers. As for accepting it, do you see an answer that is more deserving?
    – user1873
    Sep 12, 2012 at 1:14
  • 11
    I don't see any deserving answer at all so far. Merely a copying of propaganda onto this site for purposes of furthering your obvious agenda. By repeatedly posing polarizing questions, then accepting your own answers, you show yourself to be a propaganda troll. You are attempting to make the positions you take look like they are rational (accepted), when they are invariably distorted right wing propaganda.
    – user3344
    Sep 12, 2012 at 12:58

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