Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border [Updated January 8, 2008] [open pdf - 705KB]
"Congress has repeatedly shown interest in examining and expanding the barriers being deployed along the U.S. international land border. The 109th Congress passed a number of laws affecting these barriers, and oversight of these laws and of the construction process may be of interest to the 110th Congress. The United States Border Patrol (USBP) deploys fencing, which aims to impede the illegal entry of individuals, and vehicle barriers, which aim to impede the illegal entry of vehicles (but not individuals) along the border. […]. While the San Diego fence, combined with an increase in agents and other resources in the USBP's San Diego sector, has proven effective in reducing the number of apprehensions made in that sector, there is considerable evidence that the flow of illegal immigration has adapted to this enforcement posture and has shifted to the more remote areas of the Arizona desert. Nationally, the USBP made 1.2 million apprehensions in 1992 and again in 2004, suggesting that the increased enforcement in San Diego sector has had little impact on overall apprehensions. In addition to border fencing, the USBP deploys both permanent and temporary vehicle barriers to the border. […]. A number of policy issues concerning border barriers generally and fencing specifically may be of interest to Congress, including, but not limited, to their effectiveness, costs versus benefits, location, design, environmental impact, potential diplomatic ramifications, and the costs of acquiring the land needed for construction."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33659