According to the Washington Post, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report finds that, as of March 2006, the United States had effective control over 284 miles of the US-Mexico border, up from 241 miles in October 2005. The border is 1,993 miles long.

The report, which was sent to Congress, also notes that the DHS lacks "a wholly satisfactory methodology" to define "control." The DHS has set a goal of controlling 345 miles of the border by 2007 and controlling the entire border by 2011, when a virtual fence system is set to be completed.

That virtual fence system, known as SBInet, is part of the federal government's Secure Border Initiative (SBI). SBInet will consist of fencing, surveillance technology and vehicle barriers. The DHS says that SBInet will cost $7.6 billion to implement along the U.S.-Mexico border. The DHS recently tweaked its mission statement for SBI, placing the focus on anti-terrorism instead of illegal immigration.