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Homeland Security watchdog concludes barriers most effective at curbing illegal immigration: FOIA

Potential responses to illegal immigration included sensors, cameras, mobile surveillance radars, a vehicle fence and the deployment of additional agents, but a pedestrian fence was seen as the most effective.

Published: December 17, 2023 11:04pm

Updated: December 17, 2023 11:04pm

The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general found that a border wall is the most effective way to curb illegal immigration, according to a newly released report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. 

The Immigration Reform Law Institute published a 2017 report last week from the Homeland Security watchdog, which found that in 25 border areas studied, a pedestrian fence, also known as a border wall, was the best solution to ending illegal immigration. 

The institute originally filed the FOIA request in 2020, but said that nearly three years later it only received one relevant document, which was the 2017 report for then-Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan about the effectiveness of a barrier along the border. 

Potential responses to illegal immigration studied in the report included sensors, cameras, mobile surveillance radars, a pedestrian fence with anti-climb capability, a vehicle fence and the deployment of additional agents.

Much of the 225-page report is redacted, but in every single area studied, a pedestrian fence was seen as the "most cost-effective." In several areas, the inspector general recommended a combination of sensors, cameras and radar alongside a pedestrian fence or to have a pedestrian fence with vehicle impediments incorporated, but overall, the most frequent recommendation is simply a pedestrian fence.

"The main takeaway from the audit is this: Physical barriers work. They successfully impede illegal traffic into the U.S. and do so at a cost-effective rate. Ultimately, the old adage that 'good fences make good neighbors' holds true," the institute said after publishing the report. "And, the only safe, humane and reasonable approach to deterring unlawful migration across the southern border of the United States is to construct a 'border wall.'"

President Joe Biden had been opposed to building any section of the border wall, but he reversed course earlier this year as record-breaking numbers of illegal immigrants came to the United States. 

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