The Fence


The border between the United States and Mexico has been disputed for many years, dating back to 1846 when the Mexican-American War was fought over the United States' annexation of the Republic of Texas. Since then, many efforts have been made between the two nations to establish sovereignty over territory in the border region.

Construction of a border fence between Mexico and The United States began in the early 1900s. In just 1915, Mexican Governor Jose M. Maytorena ordered the construction of a fence to separate the Mexican and American cities of Nogales. Although the fence was torn down just four months later, small partitions of fencing have been erected over the years that are still withstanding.

Mexican-American War Map

A map of the disputed territory during the Mexican-American War.

The first major federal move towards constructing a border fence began in 1993, when Bill Clinton signed off on Operations Safeguard and Hold the Line, which authorized the construction of fencing along the border in Arizona and Texas respectively. A third installment, Operation Gatekeeper, was authorized in 1994 for the construction of fencing along the border in California. Collectively, these three operations were enacted with the intent to stem illegal immigration and drug trafficking from Latin America.


Nogales, Arizona (left) and Nogales, Mexico (right), separated by the border fence.