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Southwest Border Fencing / Vehicle Barrier Update

September 27, 2007

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Southwest Border Fencing Goal (Through


Secretary Chertoff has committed that DHS will build a total of 370 miles of fence along the southwest border by the end of CY 2008.

By the end of FY 2007, DHS plans to have a total of 145 miles of fencing completed along the southwest border. By the end of CY 2008, an additional 225 miles will be built, for a total of 370 miles.

Prioritizing Fence Investments

Operational assessments by the local Border Patrol Agents and Chiefs – based on illegal cross-border activity and the Border Patrol’s extensive field experience – identified multiple locations where fencing or vehicle barriers would most effectively enhance border security.

These assessments recommended a total of roughly 370 miles of fencing along the southwest border’s 2,000 miles and provided a starting point for determining where fence will be built.

Four main factors contribute to fence location decisions: (1) the initial Border Patrol operational assessments; (2) engineering assessments, which include the cost to construct; (3) environmental assessments; and (4) input from stakeholders. Each of these steps is a standard element of the planning process that enables us to make informed decisions in deploying the right mix of tactical infrastructure.

Ongoing Community Outreach

Since May 2007, DHS has engaged in extensive discussions about the placement of the remaining 225 miles of fencing with state and local stakeholders, including landowners, to ensure that our investments effectively balance border security with the diverse needs of those that live in border communities. As part of these outreach efforts, DHS has contacted almost 600 different landowners, held 18 town hall meetings, and held 4 environmental Public Scoping Sessions.

Some of the lands proposed for fencing beginning in FY 2008 are public lands, and the appropriate environmental studies and land use discussions with the relevant public agencies are underway.

Other sections of the border proposed for fencing are privately owned. For such properties, we are now beginning to move to the next phase in our decision-making process: starting


environmental and engineering assessments for privately held lands. To perform these assessments, Border Patrol Agents and Army Corps of Engineers real estate specialists will ask private landowners for a Right of Entry for Survey and Site Assessment (ROE-S). The ROE-S will provide the government with access to gather more detailed information to make informed decisions in deploying tactical infrastructure. It does not grant the government the right to start construction.

Communicating Continuously Regarding the Path Ahead

DHS strives for a transparent and consultative process as we move forward with the additional 225 miles of fence construction.

We will provide private landowners and public land managers and appropriate elected officials with additional information and materials. These materials include: (1) detailed maps that identify the areas on public or private land where we are considering fence construction; (2) pictures of possible fence designs; and (3) the ROE-S as described above.

Some areas identified on initial planning maps may not end up with fence. DHS and the Army Corps of Engineers will continue to work with landowners to reach agreement on access and land valuation issues as these assessments are conducted.

In a few limited cases, we have made more substantial progress. There are five locations where we are nearly ready to award fence design and construction task orders. These task orders cover a total of approximately 20.5 miles at locations in Arizona and New Mexico. These fence segments will be constructed on public lands or within the Roosevelt Reservation, and coordination with these landowners for access and staging areas has been completed.

We will keep you informed as we continue to move forward and make further decisions on fence locations.

Fencing as Part of the Broader Strategy to Secure U.S. Borders

Fencing is but one element of DHS’s layered defense plan to gain control of our nation’s borders. Our comprehensive plan includes additional, substantial investments in technology, infrastructure and enforcement personnel.

Fencing and technology are complementary tools. Technology allows the Border Patrol to identify and track illegal activity. Fencing gives Border Patrol agents time they need to respond to illegal cross border activity. A combination of technology and tactical infrastructure best allows Border Patrol to do their job safely and effectively.

DHS will deploy the right mix of technology, tactical infrastructure, and personnel to secure each mile of the border as quickly and efficiently as possible.



Vehicle Barriers

At the end of FY 2007, DHS will have approximately 110 miles of vehicle barriers along the southwest border. The goal of the DHS has been to construct a total of 200 miles of vehicle barriers by the end of CY 2008.

On 10 Aug 07, the Administration announced its intention to increase this goal to a total of 300 miles completed by the end of CY 2008.