Are we getting our money's worth for the border fence?Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX - Billions of dollars have been spent on the border fence, but some say we're not getting what we paid for.
You hear so much talk about the border fence. The Department of Homeland Security said it's just about finished.
3 On Your Side wanted to know, what are we getting for our money and is it doing the job?
"If we had 1,000 miles of this fence, in the crucial locations along the Mexican border, we will cut drug smuggling and illegal immigration down to a manageable size," said Glen Spencer, American Border Patrol founder.
Spencer is the founder of the watchdog group American Border Patrol. He lives near Sierra Vista and spends much of his time in the air flying the border to see how much fence is really being built.
"Supposed to be a fence here, no fence," Spencer said.
The Secure Fence Act of 2006 called for 700 miles of double reinforced fence to be built along to border from California to Texas. Costing an estimated $2.1 billion.
But it's up to the Department of Homeland Security, now headed up by Janet Napolitano, to decide how much fence still needs to be built and what kind of fence it should be.
The border between the U.S. and Mexico stretches 1,951 miles over four states, the Department of Homeland Security said so far it has built roughly 526 miles of fence.
Agent Mike Scioli said the fence has made a huge difference.
"Before in some spots we had barb wire here, maybe we didn't even have barb wire in some spots so this is definitely an advantage," he said.
But Spencer points to spots that are still wide open and areas where there is only vehicle fencing or barb wire. It took a 3TV producer a minute to climb through.
While the issue of fencing has been controversial with many people protesting the economic and environmental impacts of the fence for border cities, the bottom line is, Congress gave the green light for 700 miles of fencing to be built.
Spencer said taxpayers are not getting their money's worth.
"No they haven't built that much fence and much of what they are claiming is fence isn't fence at all," he said.
The border patrol and Glen Spencer agree that fencing does work, but the issue is what type of fencing? For more information about Glen Spencer's group, go to .