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Senators Debate U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2629&ncid=2629&e=13&u=/ap/20060308/ap_on_go_co/border_fence_1 Senators Debate U.S.-Mexico Border Fence By SUZANNE
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 8, 2006
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      http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2629&ncid=2629&e=13&u=/ap/20060308/ap_on_go_co/border_fence_1

      Senators Debate U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

      By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer Wed Mar 8,
      6:23 PM ET

      WASHINGTON - Senators writing an immigration bill
      argued Wednesday over whether an actual or "virtual"
      fence should be built along parts of the nearly
      2,000-mile border between the United States and
      Mexico.

      Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter,
      R-Pa., has proposed a "virtual" fence, using cameras
      and other technology to monitor illegal traffic, as
      part of an immigration bill.

      But Republicans were split on his proposal, which
      stands in contrast to one passed by the House late
      last year calling for 700 miles of fencing at heavily
      trafficked areas on the southwestern border and study
      of a possible fence along the Canadian border.

      Sen. John Cornyn (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas,
      whose state shares the longest border with Mexico,
      said border fencing would be a "dramatically negative
      message" for the U.S. to send its neighbors.

      "It may well cost billions of dollars to provide such
      a barrier or fence wall between our countries,
      assuming it was practically possible," Cornyn said.

      Sen. Jon Kyl (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., also
      said fencing along the entire border "is not a
      practical solution to the challenge that faces us
      today." But he asked for support for a combination of
      fencing, cameras and barriers along parts of Arizona's
      border with Mexico.

      Sen. Jeff Sessions (news, bio, voting record), R-Ala.,
      urged committee members to adopt the House fencing
      proposal. He said a "virtual fence" is not really a
      barrier, "it's a detection device."

      Democrats also disagreed on the issue, with Sen.
      Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif.,
      backing Specter's proposal. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy
      (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., called for
      further study on issues such as taking private land to
      build fences and the impact on relations with Mexico.

      No votes were taken on the issue because of a lack of
      a quorum. The committee was scheduled to meet again
      Wednesday on the immigration bill.
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