House Republicans offer border fence measure

Measure would require Homeland Security to install two-layered fence along five areas of Mexican border.

House Republicans introduced Wednesday legislation that would require the Homeland Security Department to install a two-layered reinforced fence along five areas of the Mexican border in an effort to crack down on illegal immigration.

The bill, sponsored by Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., is the first measure of a GOP get-tough border security agenda it believes will resonate with voters before Election Day. A vote is planned for Thursday.

The King legislation would rewrite a 1996 federal immigration law that required fencing near the San Diego border to include five specific sites among 700 miles of fencing. Those areas include a 20-mile stretch at Tecate, Calif.; a 15-mile stretch between Calexico, Calif., and Douglas, Ariz.; a 15-mile stretch between Columbus, N.M., and El Paso, Texas; a 10-mile stretch between Del Rio, Texas, and Eagle Pass, Texas; and a 15-mile stretch between Laredo, Texas, and Brownsville, Texas.

The legislation also would require Homeland Security to conduct a study on construction of a state-of-the-art barrier system along the Canadian border and another study that would evaluate the authority of personnel to stop vehicles that enter the United States illegally and refuse to stop.