In the 1965 California legislative session, a joint resolution (chapter 132, No. 44) was passed imploring the president and congress to build an:

animal-proof fence from the Pacific Ocean to the Colorado River along the international boundary

(Pacific Ocean to the Colorado River is the entire California-Mexico border)

and insisting that:

There is existing legislation to authorize these agencies to erect fences along the United States-Mexican border

(There is also another joint resolution at chapter 27, number 5, asking for the fence, and specifying that the INS and Department of Agriculture have authority to build it.)

How did the president and congress respond to California's request for a border fence?

  • 1
    Was this really intended for rabid animals or was that just a cover? Aren't bats an important rabies vector -- that no fence could block.
    – AllInOne
    Jan 11, 2019 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


A lawman's memoir describes the U.S. erecting in 1959 chainlink fences at canal crossings in Mexicali to prevent rabid dogs entering. There were plenty of cases of rabies in Texas at the time. Rabies is a real threat, though fears of its entering the country may have been overblown or even racialized.

California may have asked for a fence, but it appears to me that Congress never took up the issue. Wikipedia suggests that the first border barriers were built in 1994.

It may be worth noting that the WHO's 1987 Guidelines for Dog Rabies Control offers nine "principal" techniques for preventing transmission across borders, none of which is a border fence.

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