In his first week in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling for the construction of the border wall he promised during his campaign.
Trump’s wall would likely cost billions, but the president has said the U.S. government would pay for the structure only until Mexico, inexplicably, reimburses the costs.
If the wall is built, it would only be the most recent instance of further militarizing the U.S.-Mexico border, which already has about 650 miles of fencing.
Congress established the Border Patrol in 1924, the same year the Immigration Act of 1924 called for a limit in the number of immigrants who entered the United States via a national origins quota. Plenty has changed since, but the Border Patrol’s efforts to stop illegal immigration has grown dramatically over the years.
In 2003 the U.S Border Patrol became a part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, which was formed after 9/11. A few years later, then-President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, adding hundreds of miles onto the fence at the southwest border.
Here are 27 photos that offer a glimpse into the U.S.-Mexico border’s history.