Border Wall History

The purpose of this post is to inform readers on the south border wall of the United States history. Every president since George H. W. Bush (1989-1993) up to Donald J Trump (2017-2021) signed off on building a few miles of the border wall. The Democratic and Republican party agreed on building the wall numerous times in the past (80 senators supported it including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Charles E. Schumer). However Democrats oppose building the wall every now and then by stating how the border wall + construction needed would cause harm to the environment. But it’s hard to believe anyone truly care about the environment when we cause harm to our environment in various ways everyday and there’s no effort to stop that.


Different Types Of Fencing

Pedestrian:

This type of fencing can vary widely but was built with intention of stopping foot traffic. Pedestrian fencing is divided into three types (primary, secondary and tertiary).

  • Primary pedestrian: Covers 403 miles and makes up the bulk of fencing along the border. It ranges from corrugated steel mats to taller steel wall structures.
  • Secondary pedestrian: Covers 42 miles in four urban areas. This fencing usually consist of tall steel walls with barbed wire at the top. Border Patrol place security, flood lights and roads between it and primary fencing.
  • Tertiary pedestrian: Covers less than 17 miles in three locations. In San Diego, it’s usually barbed wire fencing.

Vehicle:

This type of fencing is intended to stop car traffic and is often little more than metal poles. Vehicle fencing is divided into two types (permanent and temporary).

  • Permanent vehicle: Most of the 181 miles of this fencing is in Arizona. It can be as simple as railroad ties forming a basic picket fence.
  • Temporary vehicle: Most of the 119 miles of this fencing is in El Centro; Tucson, Arizona; and El Paso, Texas. Some it is called “Normandy” fencing which is metal X’s holding railroad ties.
Border wall info

Yearly Update

George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)

Pre-1990: Before 1990 only 4.3 miles of the current wall was built. The oldest section is in San Diego and dates back to 1962. The number of people the Border Patrol detained for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border began rising rapidly in the 1960s. It eventually reached a high of 1.64 million in 2000. From 1973 to 1996, the San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions with at least 25% annually.

1990: Republican President George H.W. Bush was in office. Border Patrol detained 1.05 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 0.09 miles of the current wall was built. The San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions at 45%.

1991: Border Patrol detained 1.08 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 3.3 miles of the current wall was built. The San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions at 50%. This was the highest share of detentions in the San Diego Sector since at least 1960.

1992: Border Patrol detained 1.15 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border At the time only 13.04 miles of the current wall was built. The San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions at 49%.


Bill Clinton (1993-2001) 80+ miles

1993: Democratic President Bill Clinton took office. Operation Hold the Line began shortly after in El Paso, Texas. It was the first major enforcement action by Border Patrol agents aimed at decreasing illegal immigration at the southern border. None of the current wall was built in El Paso in 1993. By 1994 the number of people detained in the area for illegal entry decreased by 72 % (from 285,781-79,688). The San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions at 44%.

1993: President Bill Clinton mandated construction on a 13-mile “Border Wall” along a line in the sand between San Diego and Tijuana. It was projected to cost $39 million and reduce border apprehensions from 100,000/per day to 5,000/per day for those 13 miles.

1994: Border Patrol launched Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego and the smaller Operation Safeguard in Nogales, Arizona to reduce illegal immigration. At the time only 3.3 miles of the current wall in San Diego was built. An additional 1.8 miles of secondary and tertiary fencing was built alongside the main wall. By 1995 the number of people detained in the San Diego Sector for illegal entry increased by 16% (from 450,152-524,231). The San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions at 46%.

1995: Border Patrol detained 1.27 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 5.5 miles of the current wall was built. The San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions at 41%.

1996: Border Patrol detained 1.5 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. Only 1.9 miles of the current wall was built. The San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions at 32%.

1997: Border Patrol launched Operation Rio Grande in the Texas cities of Brownsville, McAllen and Laredo to reduce illegal immigration. None of the current wall was built in those areas in 1997. By 1998 the number of people detained in the Laredo and Rio Grande sectors for illegal entry decreased by 20%. (from 385,686-307,690). The San Diego Sector had the greatest share of detentions at 21%. Detentions in the San Diego Sector had been on a downward trend since 1995, and this was the last year it had the greatest share of detentions before being replaced by the Tucson Sector in Arizona.

1998: Border Patrol detained 1.52 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 5.2 miles of the current wall was built. An additional 21.4 miles of secondary and tertiary fencing was built alongside the main wall. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 26%. It was the first year Tucson replaced San Diego as the sector with the greatest share of detentions.

1999: Border Patrol detained 1.54 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 8.7 miles of the current wall was built. An additional 0.3 miles of secondary fencing was built alongside the main wall. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 31%.

2000: Border Patrol detentions for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border peaked at 1.64 million. At the time only 64.2 miles of the current wall was built (enough to cover about 3% of the souther border). The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 38%.


George W. Bush (2001-2009) 500+ miles

2001: Republican President George W. Bush took office. Border Patrol detained 1.24 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 36%.

2002: Border Patrol detained 929,809 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 0.5 miles of the current wall was built. An additional 0.3 miles of secondary fencing was built alongside the main wall. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 36%.

2003: Border Patrol detained 905,065 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. None of the current wall was built in 2003. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 38%.

2004: Border Patrol detained 1.14 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 1.05 miles of the current wall was built. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 43%.

2005: Congress passed the Real ID Act while exempting construction of a border wall from some environmental regulations including the Endangered Species Act. This act hindered construction in previous years. Border Patrol also detained 1.17 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 4.2 miles of the current wall was built. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 37%.

2006: Large-scale construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border began after Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 and the Secure Fence Act in 2006. These acts required the Department of Homeland Security to build the fence. Later in the year Homeland Security was given authority to determine where fencing was not needed or was not feasible. These actions led to 44.6 miles of the current wall being built which was the most in a single year up to that point. An additional 0.24 miles of secondary and tertiary fencing was built alongside the main wall. Border Patrol also detained 1.07 million people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 37%.

2007: Construction of the current wall continued to accelerate because of the Real ID and Secure Fence acts with 131 miles of the current wall being built. An additional 8.3 miles of secondary fencing was built alongside the main wall. Border Patrol also detained 858,638 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 44%.

2008: In the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency 284 miles of the current wall was built (the most in a single year and more than in all preceding years combined). An additional 11.3 miles of secondary and tertiary fencing was built alongside the main wall. Border Patrol detained 705,005 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 45%.


Barack Obama (2009-2017) 100+ miles

2009: Democratic President Barack Obama took office and continued his predecessor’s construction initiative with 111 miles of the current wall being built. An additional 2.7 miles of secondary and tertiary fencing was built alongside the main wall. This marked the end of the construction boom started in 2006, during which more than 84% of the current wall was built. Border Patrol also detained 540,865 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 45%.

2010: Border Patrol detained 447,731 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 6.1 miles of the current wall was built. An additional 0.2 miles of secondary and tertiary fencing was built alongside the main wall. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 47%. This was the highest share of detentions in the Tucson Sector since at least 1960.

2011: Border Patrol detained 327,577 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border (the fewest detentions since 1972). At the time only 9.9 miles of the current wall was built. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 38%.

2012: Border Patrol detained 356,873 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 4.1 miles of the current wall was built. The Tucson Sector in Arizona had the greatest share of detentions at 34%.

2013: Border Patrol detained 414,397 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 0.3 miles of the current wall was built. The Rio Grande Sector in eastern Texas had the greatest share of detentions at 37%. This was the first year the Rio Grande Sector had the highest share of detentions.

2014: Border Patrol detained 479,371 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 1 mile of the current wall was built. The Rio Grande Sector in eastern Texas had the greatest share of detentions at 53%.

2015: Border Patrol detained 331,333 people for entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border. At the time only 0.9 miles of the current wall was built. An additional 0.5 miles of secondary fencing was built alongside the main wall. The Rio Grande Sector in eastern Texas had the greatest share of detentions at 44%.

Donald J. Trump (2017-2021) 450+ miles

2017-2021: At the time only 456 miles of the current wall was built.


Border wall information video below.

Fact Check:

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