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At the Democratic Univision debate on Sept. 9, 2007, candidate Bill Richardson said a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border was only half-funded by Congress. Here's his statement:
"This wall is a horrendous example of Washington misguided policy. Congress only funded half of the wall."
Richardson got it mostly right, although Congress has taken steps to pay for additional portions. The ultimate cost is still uncertain, however.
In 2006, Congress approved building the wall in the Southwest to restrict undocumented workers' access into America. It will run 850 miles when built, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Congress has approved $1.2-billion to pay for it -- about half its estimated cost. But Richardon's statement gives the impression the funding has stopped. In fact, the White House and Congress have taken steps to pay for the remainder of the fence, although there is still some disagreement about what form the fence will ultimately take.
The White House requested another $1-billion in spending for the fence in 2008. The House approved the spending in June 2007 but with strict requirements because Democrats are skeptical of the proposal.
The Senate has not yet approved it.
"U.S.-Mexico fence's lack of progress is criticized", Los Angeles Times, Aug. 25, 2007
HR 6061, 109th Congress, Secure Fence Act of 2006
"Homeland Spending Bill Passes House," CQ Weekly, June 18, 2007
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