On September 29, 2006, the US Senate passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 by a vote of 80-19, authorizing the construction of a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexico border. The measure was designed to curb illegal immigration into the US. A key provision of the bill dictates that the US Department of Homeland Security must have "operational control" over US borders within 18 months in an effort to keep illegal substances and illegal immigrants from entering the US. The US House of Representatives passed the legislation by a vote of 283-138 earlier that month. The Mexican government expressed its opposition to the bill shortly before its passage.
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