8 U.S.C.A. § 1103(b)(1) (West).  Powers and duties of the Secretary, the Under Secretary, and the Attorney General.


The Statute dealt with recent amendments made by the government to accommodate the construction of a 700-mile fence. Much of the land along the border is privately owned by United States citizens. When the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was passed, the legislature amended the section pertaining to the government’s land acquisition authority. In general the Secretary of Homeland Security “shall take such actions as may be necessary to install physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border to deter illegal crossings”.[1]   The statute gave extreme discretion to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine what land the government could acquire.

The statute did not mention how effective a fence may be at preventing illegal immigration, but it did give the government broad authority to take any lands it needed in an effort to construct or maintain the fence. I found the statute helpful because shed light on the issues landowners in the region were facing with the creation of a fence on the border.

Civil Rights Act of 1964, 88 P.L. 352 (July 2, 1964).

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States. Congress declared its authority to legislate under several different provisions under the United States Constitution, specifically under Congress’ authority to regulate commerce. (the Commerce Clause).

The Civil Rights Act outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans, women, and other minority groups.   Title VI of the Civil Rights Act specifically prevented discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funds. If an agency is found not to comply with Title VI, it faced losing its federal funds.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act was extremely broad, and I had trouble relating to my thesis statement. The title declares it to be the policy of the United States that discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin shall not occur in connection with programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. I tried to analogize Title VI with a potential disparate impact claim Mexicans Americans could have, but I struggled to find a connection.

Secure Fence Act Of 2006, PL 109–367, 120 Stat 2638 (Oct 26, 2006).

The goal of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 is to help secure America’s border with Mexico. The Legislation called for tripling the size of border patrol fences along the Mexican-American border to a total of 700 miles.   The Act also called for additional checkpoints, lighting, and electronic surveillance along the entire 2000-mile border.  The Secure Fence Act of 2006 is at the core of my thesis statement. The Act has been controversial from its inception. Almost every American has an opinion on whether a fence should be built between Mexico and the United States. Recent cries for enhanced national security, and an ailing national economy both play a role in the Secure Fence Act of 2006’s enactment  I spent the majority of my research trying to gain varying perspectives on all of the issues pertinent to building a 700-mile fence along the Mexican American border. I tried to assemble all the viewpoints and then contrast them with their supported evidentiary backings.   The text of the Act itself was extremely helpful as I went about my research.