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Senate approves US-Mexico border fence bill

[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 [HR 6061 text, PDF] Friday by a vote of 80-19 [roll call], authorizing the construction of a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexico border [JURIST news archive]. President Bush is expected to sign the measure, designed to curb illegal immigration [JURIST news archive] into the United States. A key provision of the bill dictates that the US Department of Homeland Security [official website] must have "operational control" over US borders within 18 months in an effort to keep illegal substances and illegal immigrants from entering the US, while also providing for a study [JURIST report] to decide whether the government should also construct a fence along the Canadian border. A separate measure will fund construction and maintenance of the fence.

The US House of Representatives [official website] passed [JURIST report] the border fence bill by a vote of 283-138 [roll call] September 15. The Mexican government has already expressed its opposition [JURIST report] to the scheme. AP has more. The Boston Globe has additional coverage.

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